Hot summer days become all the more troublesome when your home cooling system has difficulty powering on. You can fix this issue with a hard start kit, but you need to find the right one for your AC compressor. We've researched the best hard start kits, and here's what we learned.
A hard start kit helps a worn-out AC compressor gather enough power to start up faster. In no particular order, here are some of the best hard start kits on the market today:
- CPS 5-2-1 CSRU1 Compressor Saver
- Supco SPP6 Hard Start Kit
- RectorSeal 96506 Kickstart Hard Start Kit
- Antoble SPP6 Hard Start Kit
- PartsBroz TJ90HS6 Hard Start Kit For Air Conditioner
- Amrad TES5 Easy-Start 5 Hard Start Kit For HVAC Compressors
Fortunately, you can install a hard start kit in your air conditioner to back up the system's power! For starters, we'll cover what a hard start kit is and when you should use it. Keep reading while we explain the basics of hard start kits.
What Is An Air Conditioner Hard Start Kit?
A hard start kit comes into the picture when your AC compressor struggles to power the system and cool your home, which occurs with damaged or worn-out compressors. These kits give your air conditioner a temporary additional power source to maintain optimal performance.
Although a hard start kit can solve startup problems with your AC, a faulty compressor indicates your cooling system may need a replacement soon, especially if you've had it for over ten years.
Hard start kits are still significantly helpful if you want to push back replacing your compressor without risking more damage to your cooling system.
Benefits Of Using A Hard Start Kit
Listed are some advantages you can get from installing a hard start kit.
Longer AC And Compressor Life
A hard start kit gives a compressor an almost instant startup, preventing it from consuming more energy or getting hotter. As a result, it lessens the damage, extending the lifespan of the compressor and air conditioner.
This benefit is one of the reasons manufacturers recommend installing hard start kits to air conditioning systems, new or old.
Lower Cooling Costs
When an air conditioner performs below optimal conditions, it consumes more power than usual to cool a space. With the system turning on the AC compressor more often, your bills will likely increase.
A hard start kit lowers the energy it takes to power the compressor, so your air conditioner maintains stable electricity consumption even with a faulty compressor.
Starting the compressor takes a lot of power when turning on an AC. Hard start kits reduce the total electricity required, allowing the system to use energy with less waste.
Alternative Repair Solution
HVAC compressor replacement ranges from around $800 to $2,400, making it one of the most expensive parts of a cooling system to replace or repair. If you're on a tight budget, you can save on extra expenses by using hard start kits as a temporary solution and an additional preventive measure.
6 Recommended AC Compressor Hard Start Kits
Here's a quick rundown on a few of the best air conditioner compressor hard start kits, including their key features.
CPS 5-2-1 CSRU1 Compressor Saver
The CPS compressor saver is one of the affordable choices offering 5-2-1 technology. It boosts your compressor using a multi-layer starting capacitor and smart switch, allowing the device to start the compressor reliably.
- Effectively extends the life of your compressor and other components
- Up to 50% damage reduction during startup
- Consumes less energy
- It lowers power costs and saves you money
The video below shows how to install the CPS compressor saver:
Supco SPP6 Hard Start Kit
The Supco hard start kit works on single-phase air conditioning and refrigeration units with a low starting torque. Most reviews state it's easy to understand and install, provides sound output, and is an excellent value for the money.
- Easy 2-wire installation
- Works on PSC-type compressors
- Economical option
Here is a video showing how to install and handle the Supco hard start kit:
RectorSeal 96506 Kickstart Hard Start Kit
RectorSeal's kit comes in a unique design, presenting a 2-wire hard start kit with pre-assembled starting components using a mechanical potential relay. It effectively assists compressors under different conditions without circuit boards, timers, or PTCR devices.
- Includes hookup procedures for easy installation
- Top recommendation by HVAC equipment manufacturers
- Guarantees compressor life extension
- It comes with a mechanical potential relay and start capacitor
Watch this video if you want to see how to use the RectorSeal Kickstart kit step by step:
Antoble SPP6 Hard Start Kit
The Antoble kit works best on several air conditioning units and heat pumps. Unlike other hard start kits, it has a clamp holder so you can connect it to wires when there's not enough space to fix it.
- Designed for a permanent split capacitor in single-phase systems
- Increases compressor starting torque by 500%
- Includes a relay and start capacitor
- No complicated wiring for quick installation
PartsBroz TJ90HS6 Hard Start Kit For Air Conditioner
PartsBroz AC hard start kit increases the starting torque of your system by 500% and allows your AC unit to start about 50% faster. If you're uncertain about compatibility, you can contact the manufacturer for guidance.
- Works for air conditioners and heat pumps
- Universal and easy installation
- Lifetime warranty and 100% money back guarantee
- Quick DIY fixes
Amrad TES5 Easy-Start 5 Hard Start Kit For HVAC Compressors
Amrad's Easy-start kit is a suitable replacement for most popular hard start kit brands for refrigeration and air conditioning. It's also known for being robust and has easy wiring, but it doesn't come with mounting hardware.
- Requires no vent hole and doesn't dry out
- Works on several appliances
- Sealed with aluminum housing for protection
You can watch this video for a quick look at how to wire the Amrad Easy-Start kit:
Who Needs An AC Hard Start Kit?
Most recommend homeowners install hard start kits if the following conditions apply:
- You want your AC to last longer.
- You detect complications with your AC compressor, especially with starting.
- You want to improve how smoothly your AC starts at low voltage or high head pressure.
- You want to save on costs or prefer replacing or repairing your cooling system when there are significant problems.
There's no harm in installing a hard start kit on new air conditioning systems. It can improve the condition of your compressor early on, lowering the chances of your AC encountering issues later.
When Should I Use A Hard Start Kit?
Looking out for warning signs that indicate a power problem with your AC helps you address it quicker. The following are a few signs that indicate that you might need to install a hard start kit.
Your Circuit Breaker Trips
A compressor can trip your circuit breaker when it starts wearing. If the motor in your cooling system fails to provide the appropriate energy to start up your compressor, it will draw higher amounts of power that may trip your main circuit breaker.
The AC Lights Indicate Power Issues
Lights on your unit can indicate something good or bad with your device. If you notice the lights flickering unusually, it may be signaling a problem. Look into how to troubleshoot your unit to identify what it means.
The AC Keeps Shutting Off
Short cycling is when your HVAC system operates for a few moments and suddenly shuts off repeatedly. This usually occurs due to energy strain or other electrical issues.
Learn more on how to deal with air conditioner short cycling in this post: Short Cycling AC – What To Do?
You Hear Strange Noises From The AC
Any form of noise from your air conditioner points to a problem with its components or not having sufficient power to run other parts. You can locate the sound source, but it's best to contact an HVAC professional to look into it immediately.
If your unsure about your AC noises, read this post for answers: Why Is My Air Conditioner Compressor So Loud?
Many great hard start kit brands are available for AC compressors with a range of features and price points. Experts suggest choosing the one that fits your needs best to ensure it works efficiently with your system.
It's also essential to evaluate your cooling system to determine if it needs a hard start kit or if you should replace it altogether.