Jun. 20, 2019
“Short cycling" is the official term for when an AC turns on and off every few minutes.
Short cycling can cause issues like:
- Increased energy bills
- Wear and tear on your system
- Shortened AC lifespan
- An oversized AC system
- A refrigerant leak
- A dirty air filter
- Improperly placed thermostat
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If you’ve recently installed a new AC system, this is likely your issue. If an AC is too large for your home, it will cool your home quickly and shut off.
Reason #1: An oversized AC system
The solution: Call the company or contractor who installed your cooling system. Before installing your AC, a technician should have done an evaluation of your home and cooling needs, called a load calculation.
Refrigerant is the substance that flows through your AC system, picking up heat inside your home and carrying it outside.
Reason #2: A refrigerant leak
If there is a leak in the refrigerant line, it can lower the pressure in your AC system, which triggers the compressor (the part of your AC that pumps refrigerant) to shut off.
Once the thermostat calls for cooling again, the AC turns on, detects low-pressure levels again, then turns right back off.
The solution: Contact a professional to repair the leak and then recharge the system. Refrigerant is not only an integral part of your AC system, but the substance itself is harmful to humans. You should not attempt to make this repair on your own.
Warning: A common HVAC scam is to charge homeowners for a refrigerant recharge without repairing the leak (which will just result in that refrigerant leaking out again). Be sure that if your refrigerant line is leaking, the technician repairs the leak BEFORE recharging the refrigerant.
If your air filters are clogged or dirty, it restricts airflow to your indoor AC unit. Low airflow can cause your evaporator coil to freeze, which limits your AC’s ability to remove heat from your home. When your evaporator coil freezes, it can cause your AC to overheat, which will turn your AC off.
Reason #3: Dirty air filter
The fix: Clean or replace your air filters if they are dirty. A good rule of thumb is to replace your air filters every month during the summer.
Example of a clean filter (left), next to a dirty filter (right).
Depending on where your thermostat is located, it can be tricked into thinking that your home is a certain temperature when it’s not, causing your AC to shut on and off frequently.
Reason #4: Improperly located thermostat
Some faulty locations for your thermostat include:
- Under a supply vent
- Near a window
- Next to a door that leads outside
The solution: Contact a professional to move your thermostat. As we mentioned above, short cycling can cause you money in the long run if it’s not taken care of.
If you want your AC repaired correctly, hire Air Experts. With 24 years of experience, we continue to provide New Jersey homeowners with the highest quality of service.
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