Today’s home HVAC system incorporates a variety of fragile electrical components. Like most advanced technology integrated into our lives today, some of these parts can be sensitive to certain factors that are related to electrical power. While manufacturers build in many safeguards against damage, there are things the homeowner can do as well to prevent damage to your HVAC unit’s fragile electrical components.
What’s at Risk?
- Control modules. Today’s air conditioners and furnaces incorporate microprocessor controls that serve as the “brains” of the system. Like the computer or tablet we use in our daily lives, they may be vulnerable to voltage fluctuations, such as surges, that may originate from causes inside the house or from exterior sources. Programmable HVAC thermostats are another electrical device that may be affected by voltage irregularities.
- AC compressor. Generally the most expensive single component in the air conditioning system, the compressor located in the outside condenser unit runs off 220-volt electricity. Its job is to compress the refrigerant flow so heat extracted from the home is effectively dispersed into outdoor air. The compressor relies on a special capacitor to jump-start the powerful motor every time the unit cycles on.
- ECM Blower. HVAC blowers have evolved far beyond a single-speed fan and motor. Electronically commutated motors (ECMs) run at variable speeds to deliver the precise volume of air circulation required at any given time. These units also incorporate sensitive microprocessor controls.
Protecting Fragile Electronic Components
- Whole-house surge protectors can be installed at the house’s electrical panel and monitor all voltage that’s entering the house from the grid. If a voltage surge is detected, it is filtered out before damaging components such as HVAC control modules and the system thermostat.
- Dedicated air conditioner surge protectors protect the costly AC compressor. Typically installed at the power cut-off switch to the outdoor AC unit that incorporates the compressor and run capacitor, these units add enhanced protection against voltage irregularities originating within the home or from other nongrid sources like a direct lightning strike.
For advice on comprehensive protection of fragile electronic components in your HVAC system, contact the professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.