Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

It’s not an exercise trend, short-cycling can negatively affect your cooling system and budget.

There it goes. The air conditioner kicked on again. Didn’t it just stop a few minutes ago? If you’ve noticed your air conditioner seeming to be unable to make up its mind, it may be what’s known as “short cycling.”

The frequent starting and stopping is not good for your air conditioner. It can negatively impact your comfort levels as well as your energy costs. The constant on/off also increases the wear and tear on your system, eroding the reliability and lifespan of your air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Short Cycling Causes

  • Low Refrigerant. Air conditioners low on refrigerant cannot do their job. The struggle to compensate puts more stress on the air conditioning components, triggering short cycling.
  • Oversized System. Improper sizing of an air conditioning system is a common reason for short cycling. Mistakenly purchasing an air conditioner too big, or too powerful for your home inevitably cools your home too quickly. Your air conditioner would blast the coolness through the space and click off fairly quickly. This typically generates uneven temperatures and even worse, higher utility bills and increases the chance for a breakdown.
  • Air Filter Clogs. When there’s less airflow, your air conditioner has to work harder to make up for the obstruction. Excess pressure is applied to blower motors and compressors. This pressure can cause them to overheat and ultimately short cycle.
  • Ice on Evaporator Coils. Don’t be fooled. This is not a winter weather problem. When this happens it can cause your air conditioner to shut off without completing its “true” cycle. Because your evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air in your home, condensation can form on the coils naturally. If something in the conditioning process goes wrong, however, the condensation can freeze. Airflow obstructions, dirty filters or coils and low refrigerant can contribute to the freezing.  
  • Faulty Thermostat. If your thermostat is providing inaccurate readings, it can fail to communicate properly with your air conditioner. If you still have a dial thermostat, for example, you could upgrade to a modern, temperature-sensitive model. Many offer more control, some remotely and overall better energy efficiency.

Get Your Air Conditioner Back on Track

First, check your air filter. If it needs to be cleaned or replaced, do so. Investigate the area around your indoor and outdoor equipment for obvious airflow obstructions. Yard clutter, such as leaves or grass clippings, can sometimes gather around an air conditioning compressor unit, even getting sucked into the fan! Additionally, homeowners should look for evidence of ice on the coils.

Call a trusted HVAC provider, such as northwest Florida’s Mills Heating and Air. They can send an industry-certified technician to check for low refrigerant while performing a basic maintenance service. All maintenance checks include testing, lubricating, cleaning and inspecting all relevant components, so the cause is likely to be found.

In the future, schedule preventative maintenance twice a year to catch problems before they become breakdowns or necessitate major repairs. Mills Heating and Air offers preventative maintenance agreements to make taking care of your valuable HVAC system a breeze.  

Trust Mills Heating and Air

Mills Heating and Air has served customers in northwestern Florida since 1984 with various central air conditioning service, repair and installation needs. Concerned about finances? Don’t be – Mills Heating and Air offers multiple financing options. By spreading out payments, you keep expenses predictable while enjoying increased comfort and lower utility bills today.

Mills can install new Carrier or Mitsubishi air conditioners ready to take on the sunny Florida summer weather. Not ready to replace? Mills can service and repair any brand. Contact Mills Heating & Air to discuss air conditioner and indoor air quality options. For lower bills, call Mills!

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