Short-cycling is a condition that’s easy to notice in an air conditioner, although people may not always know exactly what it is or why it’s a problem. To put it as simply as possible, short-cycling is when an air conditioner’s compressor turns on and off multiple times over an hour, with each cooling cycle lasting less than fifteen minutes. This shouldn’t be happening if the air conditioner is running properly. Short-cycling places enormous pressure on the components of an air conditioner, which creates high bills and a system that will wear down fast—to the point where it will need to be replaced years ahead of time. Short-cycling is often a sign of a specific malfunction that needs to be repaired.
Below we’ve listed some of the causes for an AC to short-cycle. In most situations, you’ll need air conditioning repairfrom professionals to fix these troubles—and you don’t want to hesitate about it, since some of these malfunctions can lead to a full system breakdown that will require a complete air conditioning replacement. If you live in the Desert Communities or the Inland Empire, you can reach our professional HVAC technicians 24 hours a day for assistance.
Common Reasons for a Short-Cycling AC
- Clogged air filter: We talk about this a lot because when the air filter of an HVAC system becomes clogged it can cause numerous problems—but it’s also a fast fix. Just put in a clean filter! (Reminder: do this regularly, every 1 to 3 months.)
- Loss of refrigerant: Here’s another concern about many air conditioners. When an AC is having trouble absorbing or releasing heat through its coils, it can cause the compressor to shut down prematurely. If an AC is allowed to run with a reduced refrigerant charge, it will eventually cause the compressor to burn out—and this usually means the compressor needs to be replaced, which is one of the most expensive repairs an AC may need. (Most people simply opt to have the air conditioner as a whole replaced when this happens.)
- Thermostat malfunction: If the central thermostat in a home starts to register incorrect readings (“ghost readings”), it will cause the air conditioner to behave erratically and turn on and off rapidly. The best course of action is to replace the thermostat. This is a good opportunity to upgrade to a more advanced, energy-saving thermostat model.
- Oversized AC: Has your air conditioner been short-cycling since Day One? In that case, the trouble is likely that the installers put in a unit that’s oversized for your home; i.e. it delivers too much cooling, which makes the system shut off the compressor’s cycle early. Avoiding an oversized AC is one of the reasons to always have trained professionals handle air conditioning installation. If you have an oversized air conditioner, you’ll need to have it replaced with one that’s professionally sized to meet your home’s exact cooling requirements.
We’re here to help you with air conditioning service in Indio, CA or elsewhere in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.