AC Troubleshooting: Short Cycling

Short Cycling Air Conditioning Unit

When an air conditioner cycles on and off every few minutes, it is called short cycling. This is a common problem that will harm your system by putting excess wear and tear on it leading to frequent breakdowns and repairs. Short cycling also affects the energy efficiency causing your energy bill to skyrocket.

Short cycling can be caused by a variety of reasons that should be corrected as soon as possible to minimize expenses and save your system.

What can cause air conditioner short cycling?

Oversized system. One of the most common causes of short cycling is an improperly sized system. If an air conditioning unit is too powerful for a home, it will cool the home quickly and turn on and off constantly. Short cycling also causes fluctuations in temperature creating hot and cold spots.

Ice on evaporator coils. Ice buildup on evaporator coils can happen for several reasons. When it occurs, it can easily lead to short cycling.

Dirty air filter. If there is insufficient air flow, the system must work harder to compensate. This puts excess pressure on the air conditioner’s components, causing them to overheat and lead to short cycling.

Low refrigerant. If the refrigerant is low, it can cause the condenser to overheat.

Thermostat problems. Sometimes a malfunctioning thermostat may be the culprit. Check the instruction manual for troubleshooting tips or call an HVAC professional to come out and test your thermostat.

What should you do if your air conditioner is short cycling?

First, check your air filter. If it is clogged, replace it with a new one. Otherwise, give Burkholder’s HVAC a call so that we can diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs. Short term cycling can lead to long-term problems, so it should be addressed as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about short cycling, or if you are looking to have your air conditioner serviced or installed in your home, contact us.