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Dealing With a Hard Starting Air Conditioner

Dealing With a Hard Starting Air Conditioner

May 8th, 2023


There are several common problems that air conditioning systems may encounter as they start to get older (more than 8 years, which usually still puts them under warranty). One we often help our customers fix is hard starting. 

An air conditioner is hard starting when it has trouble getting the compressor to start up. The compressor uses a power motor to run—in fact, it’s the reason you see significantly higher electrical costs on your utility bills when you start using the AC. If this motor struggles to turn over and get going, it will cause problems for the entire air conditioner. If the compressor won’t run, there’s no cooling in the house.

If you have a hard starting AC, you’ll need to contact us for air conditioning repair in Roswell, GA. Ignoring the problem will only cause it to get worse and lead to a completely broken AC. A failed compressor in an older cooling system usually means the whole system must be replaced.

What Causes Hard Starting?

There are multiple possible sources for a hard starting air conditioner. Here are several of the more common ones:

  • Loss of refrigerant: Low levels of refrigerant due to leaks (or an amateur attempt to recharge refrigerant after leaks) will force the compressor to work harder, and this can cause it to hard start because of the extra labor required. 
  • High system pressure: This can occur because of too much refrigerant, another amateur error. This also creates extra strain on the compressor and can trigger hard starting.
  • Electrical issues: The electrical components connected to the compressor may malfunction and make it more difficult for the compressor motor to start. This problem can include faulty capacitors, dirty relays, and loose electrical connections.
  • Tight compressor: This is a mechanical issue where the compressor’s parts are creating greater friction and making it more difficult for the motor to run. This often occurs in older compressors or ones that haven’t received regular maintenance.

The Consequences of Hard Starting

A hard starting air conditioner may just seem like an annoyance at first, but you don’t want it to continue because of the many problems it causes. It wastes energy because of all the extra electricity the unit drains trying to get the compressor to start. It will also lower the efficiency of the cooling cycle. 

Worst of all is the damage that hard starting can do to the compressor and motor. If the compressor burns out because of hard starting, the price to replace it is high enough that a full AC replacement is a more cost effective option.

Fixing a Hard Starting Air Conditioner

When you call our technicians about a hard starting AC, they’ll investigate the problem and get to the root cause. From there, they’ll find the right solution. This may involve recharging lost refrigerant and sealing refrigerant leaks, lowering system pressure by bleeding off refrigerant, replacing electrical parts, cleaning relays, tightening connections, and lubricating motors. Often, we can attach a hard start kit that gives the motor an extra boost to overcome resistance.

Dayco Systems has been Metro Atlanta’s choice for more than three generations. Contact us today to take care of any of your air conditioning needs.