Talking About Air Filtration Systems

Talking About Air Filtration Systems

Why Is My Air Conditioning Turning On And Off So Quickly?

Tammy Terry

While air conditioner is still considered a luxury in cooler climates, it's a life-saving necessity in areas where summer temperatures rise above 90 degrees F. If your air conditioner is still running but turns itself on and off regularly, you need to act quickly before the unit shuts down entirely. Discover why your A/C is following such an unusual operation pattern and how to fix it before the problem worsens.

What is Short Cycling?

It's best to start by understanding the definition of short cycling. If your air conditioner is turning on and off every few seconds or couple of minutes, it is short cycling. This term is not applied to situations in which the equipment switches on and off multiple times an hour. Although having the unit switch on and off even a few times per hour puts extra wear and tear on the equipment, it's not rapid enough to be considered short cycling. It's essential to separate the problems since they have different causes and need to be fixed in different ways.

What Should I Try First?

Sometimes even the most dramatic short cycling problem is easy to fix without calling a repair technician. Start by setting your thermostat temperature a few degrees lower or higher and see if that allows the unit to stay on or off longer instead of rapidly switching back and forth. If that doesn't work, other simple fixes to try include

  • Relocating the thermostat away from windows, air vents, and other sources of hot or cold air
  • Testing the thermostat to make sure it's sending the right signals at the right times
  • Changing the air filters in the HVAC system since stifled flow can cause the A/C equipment to overheat or freeze up and shut off in a short cycle pattern.

You can check and change your air filters as a homeowner, but it's best to leave the thermostat testing and relocation to a professional from a company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc.. Still, a quick visit for a thermostat inspection is inexpensive and quick. If your thermostat is working properly and your air filters are clean, it's time to look deeper for more serious problems.

What are the Other Causes of Cycling?

Ruling out basic problems means you'll need to spend a little more money to have a technician do a full system inspection. The repair professional is likely to discover at least one of the following problems if you're experiencing a short cycle pattern:

  • Worn out compressors, which have a hard time starting and may shut off again before reaching full operating capacity.
  • Damaged electrical components like the control board or one of the many switches in the system
  • Frost or dirt accumulation on the evaporation coils, which result in the unit tripping its own safety switches and then turning back on
  • Refrigerant leaks that leave the A/C struggling to produce the right amount of cooling
  • Oversized equipment, which can also develop long after installation if you change the amount of space you're cooling by blocking off most of the vents in your home.

What Happens If I Don't Fix the Problem?

Some homeowners are afraid of high repair costs and just keep letting the unit cycle on and off as it pleases. Not only does this lead to insufficient cooling and high energy bills, it also dramatically increases the wear and tear on the parts of your A/C system. Ignoring a problem that is relatively easy and inexpensive to fix, such as short cycling, will only leave you with much bigger bills later when a major part of the system has to be replaced due to accelerated wear. Invest in annual maintenance visits and prompt inspections when you notice a problem to spend a lot less in the long run.


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About Me
Talking About Air Filtration Systems

Hey everyone, I am Mort Nicholas. Since I have allergies to pollen, dust and chemicals, I must filter the air blowing through my home day and night. The air filtration systems hook straight to the furnace and air conditioner to provide my home with fresh air at all times. The filters used for these systems capture the tiniest of particles to keep them out of my airways. As a result, I often wake up feeling healthy and refreshed. I hope to share the benefits of having filtered air flowing through your home. I will discuss symptoms caused by contaminated air. In addition, I will share information about air filtration maintenance services provided by HVAC contractors.