The following are answers to some of the questions frequently asked regarding Kickstart® devices:
What do Kickstart® devices do?
Kickstart® hard start devices utilize a capacitor/relay combination to allow your air conditioning and heat pump compressors to start with maximum efficiency thus reaching normal rated speed at up to ten times faster than compressors with no hard start device installed. During start-up, a typical compressor motor with no hard start device installed has an electrical efficiency rating (also known as "power factor") of less than 50%. That means only 50% of the available power is being utilized to start the unit. Under those conditions, the compressor has to work much harder and is exposed to a lot of excess heat that is generated with each and every start. With a Kickstart® device installed, the electrical efficiency is boosted to over 98% enabling all of the available power to reach the compressor for smooth, fast starts.
What are the benefits of having a Kickstart® device installed on my air conditioning or heat pump compressor?
The two main benefits of installing a Kickstart® hard start device are:
- Life extension of your compressor
By reducing the duration of "inrush" current, Kickstart® hard start devices minimize the amount of damaging heat that compressor windings are otherwise subjected to during start-up. Over time, this reduced stress on insulation, wiring, and other critical components of the compressor has the effect of increasing its reliability and extending its useful life.
- Reduced "light flicker" during compressor start-up
Air conditioning and heat pump compressors (especially those with higher SEER ratings), often produce the undesirable side effect of "light flicker" when they start-up. Because the Kickstart® hard start device brings the compressor to rated speed up to ten times faster than normal, energy consumption is minimized and noticeable "light flicker" is usually completely eliminated.
If hard start devices are so important to my compressor, why doesn’t my unit come with one already installed?
At one time, all single-phase air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration compressors were equipped with hard start devices at the factory. Several years ago, however, manufacturers decided to discontinue that practice for most air conditioners and heat pumps in an effort to reduce costs. Refrigeration compressors, on the other hand, were considered to be so critical to homeowners (due to potential food spoilage, etc.), that hard start devices continued to be installed to ensure reliable starts time after time.
Because the average homeowner is unaware of these developments, the makers of Kickstart® have teamed up with your local hvac service contractor to make sure you have the information you need to take the best care of your air conditioning equipment. With a Kickstart® device installed on your air conditioning or heat pump compressor, you can rest assured that your unit will start reliably with the least amount of energy consumption and stress each and every time.
What is the life expectancy of a Kickstart® device?
Since Kickstart® hard start devices are constructed with high quality components that are used extensively throughout the industry and approved by major manufacturers, the average life expectancy is comparable to the life expextancy of those components; generally 5-7 years or 500,000 starts. All Kickstart® hard start devices currently come with a 3-year warranty.
Why should I choose Kickstart®?
Kickstart® is the only hard start device that is patented, U.L. Reconnized in the U.S. and Canada, and approved by major compressor and equipment manufacturers for permanent installation. Kickstart® is also the only pre-assembled, 2-wire, easy-to-install hard start device that utilizes the superior sensing capability of a potential relay in combination with a start capacitor. Kickstart® devices work on all single-phase PSC and CSIR air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration compressors (1-5 horsepower; 208V to 265V).