Why Your Air Conditioning May Be Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is a term for when an air conditioner shuts down its cooling cycle prematurely, only to start back up again a short time later. If you have noticed that your air conditioner’s compressor is turning on and off rapidly, it is probably short-cycling and you need to have it repaired. If left without attention, short-cycling will cause damage to an AC’s components and may cause the compressor to burn out and require the system be replaced early. Short-cycling also places an enormous drain on power, and you will see a sharp rise in your electrical bills until the issue is dealt with.

Why does short-cycling occur?

There is no single reason for an AC to begin to short-cycle; there’s a nest of possibilities, which is why you must call on an experienced HVAC professional to investigate. Below are three of the more common causes of short-cycling:

  • Thermostat problems: Often, the reason that an air conditioner stops its cooling cycle early is because a faulty thermostat tells it to. A thermostat that is incorrectly reading temperatures or is positioned in a house where it receives drafts or direct sunlight will make the compressor turn on and off at the wrong times. Repair technicians can usually fix the problem by replacing or moving the thermostat.
  • Refrigerant leaks: Loss of refrigerant through leaks will cause multiple problems for an air conditioning system. One of the major signs that a leak has occurred is when the AC begins to short-cycle. Since low refrigerant is an immediate threat to a compressor, you need repair specialists to fix this right away.
  • Clogged air filter: When too much debris chokes the airflow through the filter of an AC, the evaporator coil will not be able to absorb sufficient heat and will start to shut down early. Be sure to clean the air filter at least once a month during summer.

There are other reasons for short-cycling—including an air conditioner that is simply too large for the space it is supposed to cool—and your professional HVAC technician will be able to tell you what problems you need to have addressed.

To reach air conditioning repair experts who will help with your short-cycling problem, call Mid-State Air Conditioning and Heating in Nashville, TN now.

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