May 15

Why Is My Air Conditioner Running In Short Bursts?

image of a woman feeling hot and uncomfortable due to air conditioner short cycling

When outdoor temperatures rise, air conditioners are relied upon to cool down homes. AC units use sensors to detect ambient temperature and adjust their cooling cycles to reach the desired thermostat settings gradually. However, if the cooling unit runs in short bursts, a phenomenon known as AC short cycling, it can cause several issues that need addressing. This article will discuss the causes and effects of short cycling and the appropriate measures to prevent it.

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Common Causes Of Air Conditioner Short Cycling

Oversized Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioners that are too big are not necessarily better. They can release a large amount of cold air into your living spaces and then shut off quickly. While this can quickly cool the house, it cannot reduce the humidity in the air. The AC unit will not operate long enough to address this issue and will consume a lot of energy in the process. An oversized AC may cause uneven cooling throughout different areas of the house.

Related Article: 6 Common Household Products That Pollute Your Home’s Air

Clogged HVAC Air Filters

Person replacing the HVAC air filter

It is crucial to continuously monitor and change air filters. Doing so avoids blockages that restrict airflow into the system. When filters become too dirty, the unit will work double time to compensate for the reduced airflow. This can stress the compressor and blower, eventually leading to overheating. This can result in short-cycling and equipment breakdown over time.

Homeowners should adhere to the suggested filter replacement schedule outlined in the equipment manual. It is important to recognize that some homes require more frequent filter changes than others. As a general guideline, check filters monthly and replace them when they become dirty.

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Frozen Evaporator Coils

frozen air conditioner in summer

The absorption of heat within a house is the task of evaporator coils. However, they may not function properly if they are frozen or dirty, leading to overheating. To avoid further damage, the unit may automatically shut off before reaching the desired temperature.

Several mechanical problems can cause this issue. Rather than allowing the short cycling to continue, homeowners should turn off their air conditioning systems entirely until the ice melts. If the coils freeze again, it is necessary to seek assistance from a professional HVAC contractor.

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Low AC Refrigerant Levels

image of an hvac contractor using manometer to check ac refrigerant levels

The cooling system relies on the refrigerant as its lifeblood, which must be sufficient to facilitate heat transfer from the interior to the exterior. A decrease in refrigerant levels due to a leak can cause the air conditioning system to operate inefficiently, forcing it to work harder to cool down the house. This extra strain on the system can eventually cause short cycling, damaging its components.

To address these issues, HVAC technicians can assess the refrigerant levels and identify any leaks. Once the leak source has been identified, they can repair it promptly and add more refrigerant to the system until it returns to its normal state.

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AC Electrical Issues

Sometimes, malfunctioning wiring and control boards are the root cause of the problem. Electrical issues can cause insufficient power supply to the air conditioner, which may result in its attempted startup and subsequent failure. Homeowners should not attempt to tackle such complex and hazardous situations on their own. Seek the help of HVAC technicians to inspect the air conditioning system and identify if such issues cause short cycling. If required, they can repair the wiring and control board.

Related Article: Top 6 Benefits Of Getting An Annual Air Conditioner Tune-Up

Wrong Thermostat Placement

image of homeowner adjusting programmable thermostat

Short cycling may also arise due to improper thermostat placement in the house. Examining whether the thermostat is near a window that receives substantial sunlight or any other heat source is essential. Even if the room is relatively cool, the sensors may get deceived into believing that the area is hot because of direct sunlight. As a result, the air conditioner will start functioning again and quickly shut off. The thermostat may need to be shielded or moved to a more appropriate location to avoid this.

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Importance Of Avoiding Air Conditioner Short Cycling

  • Equipment Damage: Air conditioners are not meant to frequently turn on and off in quick intervals, as this puts a tremendous strain on the system’s components. It leads to substantial wear and tear, which may ultimately cause equipment failure. As a result, premature replacement of parts and reduced service life are some of the challenges that owners may face.
  • Soaring Energy Bill: Short cycling forces the cooling system to work harder than necessary, increasing energy consumption. This inefficiency is undoubtedly unwelcome as air conditioners already consume a considerable amount of energy when running correctly. Homeowners may notice a significant increase in energy bills due to this issue. Ignoring the air conditioning problem can be costly in the long run.
  • Inconsistent Room Temperatures: The temperature inside different rooms of the house may vary greatly, with some feeling chilly while others are warm. Short periods of air conditioning can hinder the proper circulation of cool air, which can pose challenges for individuals who need to work or study in warmer rooms during the summer.
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Short cycling of an air conditioner can cause significant harm to the system and be costly for homeowners. To prevent this problem, get the services of a skilled HVAC contractor who can properly select the appropriate air conditioner size and install the system. Regular annual air conditioner maintenance can also assist in quickly detecting potential problems, such as electrical issues, refrigerant leaks, and dirty coils, which can be resolved before they lead to short cycling. By taking these measures, homeowners can avoid the inconvenience and expense of dealing with short cycling.

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Related Article: Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?

Call Skylands Energy Service For Your Air Conditioning Requirements

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For top-notch heating and cooling services in Central New Jersey, turn to Skylands Energy Service. We only employ certified technicians who are highly skilled in HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Our team has the expertise to service your HVAC system efficiently and effectively.

At Skylands Energy Service, we pride ourselves on offering the area’s most competitive heating and cooling service costs. Our maintenance services can enhance comfort levels, boost energy efficiency, and reduce home cooling expenses. Whether you require an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can provide recommendations that suit your needs and budget. We take pride in our work which comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Contact Skylands Energy Service today to schedule an air conditioner tune-up or service appointment. We also offer free in-home estimates.

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