2023 Hard Start Kits: Understanding Benefits & How It Can Save Your Compressor


Welcome to this comprehensive guide on air conditioner hard start kits. In this article, we aim to shed light on the benefits and necessity of these kits, especially for aging air conditioner compressors.

A Hard Start Kit is essentially a more powerful capacitor coupled with a new Potential Relay. This is the advanced way of saying that it stores power to use when starting up your system. It’s designed to give that extra push to your compressor when it’s having a hard time starting due to worn bearings and increased friction.

By the end of this reading article, you’ll have a solid understanding of how a hard start kit can prolong the life of your compressor and potentially save you from expensive repairs. Let’s dive into the world of hard start kits and discover how this small component can make a significant difference in your air conditioner’s performance both now and in the long run.

What is a Hard Start Kit?

A Hard Start Kit is a device designed to facilitate a smoother start-up process for your air conditioning unit. This kit is especially beneficial for older units that often experience Hard Starting, a situation where the unit sputters or starts and then suddenly shuts off. The primary function of a hard start kit is to reduce the electricity required for initiating the system.

The hard start kit comprises two main components – a start capacitor and a potential relay. The start capacitor provides additional stored electricity and torque to boost the starting process. Once the unit is operational, the potential relay steps in to disconnect the capacitor from the start circuit, enabling the unit to run normally.

By enhancing start-up with a capacitor the efficiency of your unit increases considerably, a hard start kit not only makes the starting faster and smoother, but it also extends the lifespan of your air conditioning unit. This one component can save you thousands of dollars.

Signs that Your AC Needs a Hard Start Kit

Any HVAC unit can benefit from a Hard Start Kit, in fact, all new units sold by Beluga Air are Bundled with one. That’s how important they are, we won’t sell a system without one.

Some systems may need one just to function. The most common indication your system is in dire need of a Hard Start kit is in fact hard starting, which is characterized by the AC unit stuttering or abruptly shutting off during startup. If you hear your outside unit making loud noises when it first turns on, or your lights flicker in your home when the unit turns on then you are in need of a Hard Start Kit to protect your system from damages.

Other signs include:

  1. Frequent breakdowns: If your AC unit often fails to start or stops unexpectedly, it may be straining to draw more current than necessary, causing undue wear and tear.
  2. Increased energy bills: The excess power drawn during startup not only strains the unit but also leads to higher energy consumption, reflected in your bills.

A hard start kit can mitigate these issues by reducing the electricity needed for startup and creating a smoother start-up process, thus prolonging the life of your unit and potentially decreasing your energy bills. However, it’s crucial to consult an HVAC professional to assess the condition of your unit and recommend the best solution.

Benefits of a Hard Start Kit

  1. Prolonged Lifespan of the AC Unit: By reducing the strain on the compressor at startup, a hard start kit can extend the life of your AC unit.
  2. Lowered HVAC Costs: Installing a Hard Start Kit can save you significant money in the long run by delaying the need for costly replacements.
  3. Lower Utility Bills: A struggling AC compressor will use more energy to cool your home, leading to higher utility bills. A hard start kit helps the compressor run more efficiently, thus reducing energy consumption and lowering your bills. It also prevents power spikes which are billed at a higher rate than consistent electrical use.
  4. Improved Efficiency: A hard start kit can help your AC unit run more efficiently overall. By enabling the compressor to start faster, and reducing electrical spikes it can help protect other parts of your system from overloading and allows your system access to more stable power for all the other components causing it to run more efficiently.
  5. Protection for Other Electrical Devices: A compromised AC compressor can draw more power than usual, potentially affecting other electrical devices in your home. A hard start kit can help prevent this issue by regulating the power draw of the AC unit.

Real-Life Impact of a Hard Start Kit

Many homeowners have reported noticeable improvements in their AC unit’s performance after installing a hard start kit. For example, some have noticed that their lights no longer flicker when the AC turns on, indicating a more stable power draw. Others have reported a decrease in strange noises from their AC unit, suggesting a smoother startup process for the compressor.

In conclusion, a hard start kit is a small investment that can offer significant benefits for your AC unit and your wallet. By reducing strain on the compressor, improving efficiency, and protecting other electrical devices in your home, a hard start kit is a smart addition to any AC unit.

Addressing Misconceptions and Concerns

There are a few misconceptions surrounding hard start kits that need addressing. Firstly, these kits are not a permanent solution for your aging air conditioner. They may extend the AC’s lifespan for a few years but are not always a long-term fix. If your AC system is over 15 years old, an HVAC technician might even advise against installing a hard start kit, as it’s simply a patch to keep an already dying AC system running a bit longer.

Secondly, a hard start kit isn’t a replacement for other necessary repairs. It’s designed to help with a specific issue and isn’t a cure-all. The kit provides the “jump start” needed for the compressor to effectively begin its work.

Despite these limitations, Hard Start Kits are a cost-effective solution for hard-starting issues. They can prevent the premature demise of the compressor and help to reduce your utility bills. But remember, they are not a substitute for regular AC maintenance and eventual system replacement.

Selecting the Right Hard Start Kit

Choosing the right AC hard start kit is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your AC unit’s compressor. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The selection largely depends on your specific AC model and its needs.

Firstly, it’s essential to check your AC unit’s installation manual or reach out to your local dealer to identify the manufacturer-specified hard start kit. If unavailable, a compatible aftermarket hard start kit can be used. However, it’s important to ensure that the start capacitor has the correct farad rating to avoid any damage due to overheating. (HVAC Training Shop)

Types of AC Hard Start Kits

There are two main types of hard start kits:

  1. Potential relay hard start kits
  2. Positive temperature coefficient (PTC) hard start kits

Each type is suitable for different AC units. For instance, if your AC unit has a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV), a potential relay hard start kit is recommended. On the other hand, a PTC hard start kit is suitable for AC units with capillary tubes or a fixed orifice restrictor. Most of that probably didn’t make sense, and that’s why we send a trained professional out to diagnose the issue and select the best Kit for your unit.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve traversed the realm of hard start kits, shedding light on their integral role in enhancing the performance and lifespan of your air conditioner. We’ve peeled back the layers to reveal the critical components of a hard start kit, such as the start capacitor and potential relay, and how these elements contribute to the smooth and efficient start-up of your AC unit. Additionally, we’ve touched on the signs that may indicate your cooling system might be in need of a hard start kit like frequent breakdowns and increased energy bills.


The journey through the benefits of a hard start kit illuminated how these kits can reduce strain on your compressor and extend the life of your AC unit. More than just elongating its lifespan, hard start kits significantly improve the overall performance and efficiency of your air conditioning system. We’ve aimed to demystify any misconceptions or concerns that you may have about these tools, providing ample data and information to underline the effectiveness and necessity of hard start kits.

In essence, installing a hard start kit can significantly enhance the performance of your air conditioner while prolonging its life. It can mitigate problems commonly associated with hard starting, such as excessive wear and tear on the compressor and costly energy bills. Whether you’re looking to prevent potential issues or address existing ones, installing a hard start kit could be the solution you need.

When you purchase a hard start kit, you’re not simply buying a piece of hardware; you’re investing in a solution that could save you money, extend the life of your AC, and enhance its overall performance. In the long run, this minor addition to your AC system could reap substantial benefits.

So, as we conclude, we hope that you now feel more confident in making an informed decision about whether a hard start kit is the right choice for you. Here’s to a smoother, more efficient, and longer-lasting HVAC system!