AC Short Cycling: What You Need to Know

Think your AC is short cycling but not sure what that is?

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about your AC Short cycling and how to stop it from happening.

Let’s get started!

What is AC Short Cycling and Why Is it Bad?

When your air conditioner short cycles, it means that it’s “cycling” (or rather, turning itself off and on) shorter than the average 10 minute cycle.

Excessive AC short cycling can put wear and tear on your compressor and lead to higher energy bills as well as failure.

Low refrigerant, frozen evaporator coils, clogged filters, low pressure control switch, failing compressor and an oversized AC unit are all reasons why your AC might be short cycling.

Below you’ll find out more about how to fix your AC from short cycling and when to call an HVAC repair man.

5 Reasons Why Your AC Is Short Cycling

1. Frozen evaporator coils

The most common reason your evaporator coils are freezing over is because of poor airflow.

Evaporator coils are what remove the heat from inside of your house through the refrigeration process. If they freeze over, it can cause short cycling.

If your coils are frozen over, you can turn your air conditioner on fan only mode to thaw out the evaporator coils.

You can try replacing the air filter as well to see if that fixes the issue. You may also have issues with your AC’s drainage system.

If replacing the air filter doesn’t fix the problem, then you should call a professional HVAC technician.

2. Oversized AC unit

If your air conditioner is too big for your home, it’s going to overpower the target temperature, causing it to cycle off, and cycle back on when your house warms up again.

Most people assume that the biggest air conditioner is the best way to go. After all, it’s easy to assume it would provide more cooling because it’s bigger, right?

But, the truth is an oversized air conditioner can be bad for your energy efficiency, comfort, and of course the system compressor.

It can be confusing to determine which size air conditioner you need for your home, depending on the square feet of your entire house and the room you are looking to cool.

An experienced HVAC professional can help you figure this out quickly, and they can even install the new one if that is the issue.

3. Failing compressor

When your compressor starts to fail, it can lead to short-cycling issues.

If your compressor causes your air conditioner to turn on and off again many times throughout the day, this can lead to more damage to your HVAC system.

You’ll need to have your compressor inspected if you believe there is an issue with it.

4. Low-pressure control switch

Short cycling can be caused by the low-pressure control switch. This switch turns off the ac unit when the pressure drops below the minimum that’s required to operate properly.

If your low-pressure control switch is failing, it can cause AC short cycling. You’ll need to have your low pressure control switch replaced if that’s the case (but is an easy fix).

5. Adequate levels of refrigerant

Refrigerant is what allows your air conditioner to cool down your home. If your air conditioner starts to have low levels of refrigerant, your AC will have to work harder to cool down your home.

The refrigeration cycle needs sufficient refrigerant and pressure.

During normal conditions, an ac unit won’t need a new refrigerant. However, if you experience a refrigerant leak, the ac unit will struggle to work properly.

What happens is the air conditioner will start to short-cycle as it starts to maintain the temperature of your thermostat.

Can Short Cycling Kill My Air Conditioner?

Short answer: yes. But why?

When your air conditioner turns off and on too much, at irregular intervals, or too quickly, it can cause short cycling.

When the cycle is longer, that means your ac unit is working harder to maintain your desired temperature.

Cycling can put a necessary strain on your air conditioning system, which will cause wear and tear on the internal components.

Aside from an unexpected increase on your electricity bill, short cycling can also affect the overall lifespan of your ac unit significantly.

How can you prevent air conditioner short cycling?

Always maintain regular HVAC maintenance. When you keep up with maintenance on your air conditioner, you can catch any issues that may lead to short cycling or even failure of your air conditioning system.

During a yearly maintenance check, a certified HVAC technician can spot potential problems and fix them before they turn into something major.

HVAC maintenance may seem like something easy to put off until you notice an issue, but in the end, you’re spending more money because it could have been avoided.

Final Thoughts

If you notice your air conditioner short cycling, check out the potential issues that could be causing it above.

If you find it is one of the issues, you can try to fix it yourself if it’s something you feel comfortable with. If not, you may want to seek an HVAC professional.

Never ignore any issues with your air conditioning system. They may seem like a small issue, but they can turn into something major.

Even a clogged air filter can turn into a huge problem that costs thousands to fix if not taken care of.

About Heather Burdo

With almost a decade of experience with digital marketing, Heather Burdo has gained diverse experience across a multitude of industries. You can reach her at [email protected]

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