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May 2023

No Time to Delay, Protect Your AC Today

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Benefits of "Time Delay Upon Restart"
contributed by Kenick

Most homes built in southern regions of the country have central air conditioning systems installed. These systems are typically comprised of an "air handler" which circulates air to various rooms in the house, and an outdoor refrigeration condenser unit that houses the refrigeration compressor. Mini-split air conditioning systems are a relatively new addition to the HVAC community and are considered quite efficient due to not requiring duct work to cool smaller homes.

Both central air conditioning and mini-split air conditioning systems make use of a cooling process that compresses refrigerant gas and then cools (or heats) the home via release of the high pressure refrigerant through the cooling (or heating) cycle.

Modern HVAC systems make use of microprocessor controls to "manage" the operation of the system and to ensure proper operation. Super high efficient systems must be carefully controlled to maintain their high efficiency ratings.

As a result of incorporation of microprocessor control technology into the HVAC market, customers benefit greatly by having an additional hard-wire surge protector installed at the 240 volt disconnect adjacent to the outdoor condenser/compressor unit. This device will complement the meter base surge protector that can be leased or purchased from WFEC by protecting from transient surge events that may occur outside. In addition, customers should take extra steps to protect their HVAC refrigeration compressors from  momentary power interruptions. Here's why: 

1. During their operation, refrigeration compressors "compress" the refrigerant to a high pressure and this high pressure gas flows through the outside condenser/compressor unit to the indoor air handler and back to the outside unit as part of the "refrigeration cycle."

During the cool mode, cold air is expelled from the cooling coils in the air handler and into the house and hot air is released from the outside compressor unit coils.

During the heat mode (for heat pump systems), the refrigeration cycle is reversed and hot air is expelled from the inside heating coils in the air handler and into the house and cold air is released from the outside
compressor unit coils.

2. These systems operate in a very efficient manner until...the lights blink and the compressor stops...then the power returns a few seconds later and the compressor attempts to restart under high refrigerant pressure. This type of event is similar to starting off your car in 5th gear and can cause major stress on refrigeration compressor systems and lead to premature failure of the compressor.

There is a simple solution that will protect outdoor refrigeration compressors from momentary power interruptions or blinks. This solution is to install a "time delay upon restart" protection module as part of the air conditioner control system.

Once installed, the protection module will hold the compressor off for 3 to 5 minutes following a momentary power interruption. This will allow the refrigerant gas pressure to reduce to a level that will allow for easy restart of the compressor.

While many HVAC systems have time delays installed and operational, there are situations where the protection module is installed but not operational. Having your HVAC service company check out the time delay on your HVAC compressor to confirm that it is functioning properly is highly recommended.

Combining the time delay protection module with surge protection both units - meterbase and hardwired- will significantly extend the life of your HVAC system.

*Kenick, Inc. has been providing surge protection products and solutionsto the electric utility industry for over 32 years.