AC Troubleshooting: Short Cycling

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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 an air conditioner to short cycle?

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 airflow, the system must work harder to compensate putting excess pressure on the air conditioner’s components causing them to overheat and short cycle.

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

Electrical and/or control board issues. If your system’s electrical components are malfunctioning, it may not be able to turn on and off at the right times.

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

Check your air filter. Turn off your system and remove the air filter. If it is full of dust and dirt buildup, it is time to replace it. We recommend checking your air filter every 30 days and replacing it when necessary.

If your unit continues to short cycle, you should contact a professional to determine the problem. At Burkholder’s HVAC, we can help with anything from maintenance to new system installation.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!