What to Do When Your Air Conditioner is Short Cycling

Many homeowners don’t know what air conditioner short cycling is, but they may see the signs of it during summer days. Short cycling signals a problem with your cooling equipment, which leads to higher energy bills, unreliable comfort control, and even equipment damage. Grove Heating & Cooling explains what air conditioner short cycling can do to your home, what causes it, and how to fix these system issues.

The Problem with Short Cycling

Air conditioner short cycling can cause many problems inside your home and with your cooling system. If you experience short cycling, you’ll probably notice symptoms such as:

  • Poor comfort and temperature control due to the cooling system shutting down before your desired temperature is reached. 
  • Higher energy bills due to excess electricity consumption caused when the air conditioning system starts and shuts down more often.
  • The need for more frequent air conditioner repairs or even early system replacement due to the increased wear and tear your cooling unit experiences during short cycling.

Causes of Air Conditioner Short Cycling & Solutions

Many system issues can be behind air conditioner short cycling. Take a look at the most common causes of this HVAC system problem and what needs to be done to correct these malfunctions or flaws.

1. A Dirty Filter

When air filters become dirty, they make it harder for your HVAC system to circulate cool air throughout the air conditioning unit as well as the home. A dirty air filter can cause the compressor and fan motor to overheat prematurely, which will force the air conditioner to shut down its cooling cycle early for safety.

If you experience air conditioner short cycling, the filter is a good starting point in your search for solutions. Check the air filter to see if it has become filled with contaminants – replace it if it is no longer in usable condition. With a new filter in place, see how your air conditioner runs – if the short cycling doesn’t stop, move on to troubleshoot other possible problems.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coils

If the evaporator coil is covered in ice, it is unable to extract heat from air circulating through the air conditioner. The frozen coil will cause the system to work harder and use more energy to accomplish its task, ultimately leading to overheating and air conditioner short cycling.

Remove the access panel on your indoor cooling equipment to inspect the coils. If you see ice on the coils, shut down your air conditioner and allow the coils to thaw. You may choose to set the system fan to ON in order to keep warm air flowing over the icy coils, which can help them thaw faster. A dirty or clogged air filter can cause coils to freeze, so also check the filter while the coils thaw and replace it if needed. Once coils are thawed, turn the air conditioner back on – if it continues to short cycle, call your HVAC company for repairs.

3. Low Refrigerant Level

Your air conditioner requires a certain refrigerant charge to operate correctly. If refrigerant escapes the system through a leak, the cooling unit will consume more energy and overwork. This causes the system to overheat and shut down prematurely. 

Refrigerant leaks causing air conditioner short cycling must be handled by an HVAC professional. If you suspect your system has a refrigerant leak, call for repairs.

4. Oversized Air Conditioner

A system that isn’t properly sized for the home is another common cause of air conditioner short cycling. When air conditioners are too large for the space, they cool the home too fast. This results in the cooling cycle ending before the appropriate length of time, causing more starts and stops which wear out parts of the unit.

The only solution for this cause of AC unit short cycling is to replace your cooling unit. Make sure you get the right size by working with a qualified HVAC professional to replace your air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Repairs in Maryland

If you experience air conditioner short cycling this summer, don’t allow this problem to continue without attention or you will pay the price. Call Grove Heating & Cooling to schedule air conditioner repairs today.