What is Short Cycling?
Short cycling is when your AC system turns on and off more frequently than it should. When your air conditioner runs for a few minutes and then turns off prematurely, it causes your system to work harder than it needs to cool your home. Short cycling makes your AC take more time and energy than it normally would to reach goal temperature, which adds extra wear and tear to your unit and leads to higher energy bills.
On average, your AC should turn on 2-3 times per hour. If it’s happening more frequently than this, you are likely experiencing short cycling. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may also need to call your local HVAC company for air conditioning repairs.
What Causes Short Cycling?
There are various causes for a short cycling ac. Let’s dive into it!
Dirty or Clogged Air Filters
When air filters get dirty and clog, AC systems cannot pull fresh air through. If this happens, your air conditioner can overheat, causing it to switch off as a precaution before completing a full cycle.
Luckily, you can fix this problem yourself. Inspect your air filters for dust and debris. If an air filter is dirty, replacing it should fix your short cycling problem.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
Frozen evaporator coils can occur when an AC system runs when it is cold outside, or it could be the result of many different mechanical problems. You must thaw out your system to see if it can run like normal after the freeze.
To thaw your AC’s evaporator coils, shut down your AC system completely and wait 24 hours to allow them to defrost. If the problem persists and the coils refreeze after running the AC again, call a professional immediately.
Oversized or Undersized Air Conditioner
If your AC unit is too big for your home, it is also too powerful. This means that it will emit too much cold air and cause the system to short cycle. If your AC unit is too small, it simply won’t have enough power to provide sufficient cooling for your home.
The only way to solve this problem is to contact an HVAC company to get an estimate on the right size AC for your home.
Refrigerant is Leaking
When refrigerant levels are too low, your AC unit must work harder to cool the same amount of space. This can cause malfunctions and can lead to AC short cycling.
If you suspect this is the issue that’s causing your air conditioner to short cycle, you should contact an HVAC company. They will be able to thoroughly inspect your system, find the leak, and repair it. You can also schedule routine maintenance to prevent this problem before it happens.
Control boards and wiring may experience issues that cause short cycling. If you suspect an electrical problem, switch off your AC unit and contact a professional ASAP.
As weird as it may sound, the placement of your thermostat may be the cause of your short cycling AC. If your thermostat is in direct sunlight or located near heat-causing appliances, it can mess with your thermostat’s reading of your home’s temperature. This can cause it to turn your system on and off at the wrong times.
How to Fix a Short Cycling Air Conditioner
- Dirty air filters: Replace them
- Frozen evaporator coils: Shut down your system and let the coils defrost, then turn it back on.
- Improperly sized AC unit: Schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional to help you find the right size unit for your home and needs.
- Leaking refrigerant: Contact a heating and cooling company to repair your system.
- Electrical issues: Contact the professionals to inspect and repair all electrical components of your AC system.
- Thermostat placement: To ensure that it is safely and correctly reinstalled, we recommend calling a professional like Ace Solves It All to move your thermostat to another location.
Ace Solves It All is Greater Orlando’s favorite heating and cooling service provider. We are prepared to handle your short cycling AC and offer a two-year warranty on all of our HVAC work. Schedule service today!