Is your air conditioning system constantly turning on and off in quick succession, leaving you sweating in frustration? You may be experiencing what’s known as AC short cycling. Not only does this issue compromise your comfort, but it can also lead to higher energy bills and potential damage to your air conditioning unit. However, before you reach for the phone to call Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric, let’s explore some common causes of a short cycling AC system and easy fixes you can try yourself.

What Causes Short Cycling?

Short cycling occurs when an air conditioner turns on and off more frequently than usual, in shorter intervals than its normal operation. Instead of completing a full cooling cycle, the system rapidly switches on and off, leading to inefficiency, increased wear and tear on components throughout the entire system, and compromised comfort due to a lack of cool air.

Typically, air conditioners run cooling cycles that last 15 to 20 minutes. When AC short cycling occurs, the cooling cycle shuts off much sooner – 10 minutes or less after starting.

Several factors can cause air conditioning systems to short cycle, including:

  1. Oversized Air Conditioner: If your air conditioner is too large for the space it’s cooling, it can cool the area quickly, causing it to shut off prematurely and then cycle back on when temperatures rise again.
  2. Dirty Air Filter: A clogged air filter restricts airflow, leading to overheating of the air conditioning system and triggering short cycling as the AC unit attempts to compensate for the lack of airflow.
  3. Refrigerant Issues: Low refrigerant levels or leaks can disrupt the cooling process, causing the system to short cycle as it struggles to maintain optimal temperatures.
  4. Faulty Thermostat: A malfunctioning thermostat may misread the temperature, causing the AC to cycle on and off unnecessarily.
  5. Blocked Condenser Unit: Debris such as leaves, dirt, or grass clippings can obstruct the condenser unit, impairing its ability to dissipate heat efficiently and leading to short cycling.
  6. Frozen Evaporator Coil: Ice buildup insulates the coil, impairing its ability to absorb heat from the air, leading to short cycling as the system struggles to maintain proper temperature levels.

Easy Fixes for Air Conditioner Short Cycling

Now that we’ve identified some common culprits, let’s delve into simple solutions you can implement to resolve short cycling issues with your AC unit.

  1. Replace Air Filters: Check and replace your air filters regularly, ideally every 1-3 months, to ensure proper airflow and prevent dust and debris buildup.
  2. Check Thermostat Settings: Verify that your thermostat is set correctly and functioning properly. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat for more precise temperature control.
  3. Clean Condenser Unit: Inspect the outdoor condenser unit for any obstructions and clear away debris such as leaves, grass clippings, or dirt. Use a hose to gently clean the coils and fins.
  4. Thaw Evaporator Coil: If you notice ice or frost on your evaporator coil, it needs to thaw out before continuing to use your air conditioning system. Turn off the air conditioner to prevent further damage, then set the fan to “on” mode to circulate warm air over the coil and expedite thawing.

When to Call for Professional Help

While some short cycling issues can be resolved with simple DIY solutions, certain problems may require the expertise of a qualified HVAC technician. If you’ve attempted to correct short cycling with the tips above but your HVAC system continues running shortened cycles, professional help is needed to uncover and fix underlying air conditioning issues. When you call Ravinia Plumbing for air conditioning repair, we:

Put an End to Air Conditioner Short Cycling Issues

Don’t let air conditioner short cycling disrupt your comfort and inflate your energy bills. By understanding the common causes and implementing these easy fixes, you can restore your AC unit to smooth, efficient operation.

However, if you encounter persistent issues or suspect more complex underlying problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ravinia Plumbing to schedule repairs for your AC system. We’ll diagnose the cause of short cycling and restore the proper functioning of your air conditioning system right away.