Is your air conditioner switching on and off rather rapidly? If so, this is want is known as short-cycling. Short-cycling is a common phenomenon that can lead to a number of additional problems to the air conditioner, even total replacement of the unit. When your air conditioner develops short-cycling problems there may be a number of reasons behind the malfunction. It is important to determine why the air conditioner is short-cycling and repair the problem before it leads to bigger problems. Absolute P&M Services will share what can cause short-cycling and how to prevent and or correct the problem.
What Does AC Short Cycling Sound Like?
Throughout a cooling cycle a number of components will be activated in the proper sequence to complete the cooling cycle. The first major component that begins the cooling cycle is the compressor. Often the compressor will start up but before the cooling cycle is completed, the compressor will shut off. On average a cooling cycle lasts between 10 to 15 minutes. If the air conditioner shuts down before 10 minutes has passed, your air conditioner is short-cycling. Not only is the air conditioner not completing a cooling cycle, but your home will also become increasingly warmer.
What Would Cause an AC to Short Cycle?
Short-cycling can be due to a number of different problems, starting with the thermostat placement. If the thermostat is basically in the coldest place in the home, it will end the cooling cycle if the thermostat detects the cooler temperature. If you have always had a problem with short-cycling, the thermostat may be the reason behind it all. Another classic symptom of having an oversized air conditioner is short-cycling. If you recently had a new air conditioner installed and it is a bigger unit, you will have short-cycling among other problems. Never install an oversized or even an undersized air conditioner. You must install the right size air conditioner to ensure proper performance. Another reason an air conditioner will short-cycle is when the low pressure control switch wears out. It is not uncommon for a low pressure switch to wear down during the lifetime of an air conditioner. The low pressure switch will need to be replaced once it is worn out. However, there may also be a refrigerant leak which will prevent the air conditioner from completing the cycle. The low pressure control measures the pressure from the refrigerant. If the refrigerant is low there will not be enough pressure, which will then cause the unit to shut down.
Should I Turn My AC Off if it is Short Cycling?
If the air conditioner is short cycling, turn off the cooling unit and have it inspected by an HVAC technician. They will check the low pressure control switch and for refrigerant leaks. At the same time, they will double check the unit size and the placement of the thermostat. Most short-cycling problems can be avoided with proper maintenance and annual air conditioning tune-ups. Make sure to check the air filters and replacement when needed. Clean air filters can help prevent some short-cycling problems and ensure a healthier air conditioner.