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Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Short Cycling: Why It’s Never a Good Sign

We’ve discussed short cycling on this blog before, but it’s usually in the context of replacing an air conditioner that’s too large. The truth is that short cycling can occur for multiple different reasons and require extensive repairs to fix.

We want to start off today by reminding homeowners about the normal cooling cycle that an air conditioner performs. Your system should turn on, cool the air in your home, and shut back off after a good 15 minutes of solid cooling. (This can vary from system to system, you’ll actually be familiar with how long a cooling cycle lasts if you listen to your system) If your air conditioner starts running short and frequent bursts, then there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.

From here, you can shut your system down and call our team for air conditioning repair in Wheeling, IL where we can address it head-on.

Why Does the System Short Cycle?

This is a good question and one that can be a bit confusing to certain air conditioner owners. Why the heck does the system short cycle in the first place? We can talk about the causes of them all day, but unless we know what is actually happening when your air conditioner does that, it can be hard to understand the potential fixes.

Well, when an air conditioner runs, it normally completes a full cycle for a few minutes while it propels cool air through the rooms of your home to meet the demand of the thermostat. Once the thermostat has told the system your home is comfortable, it shuts down.

However, if an air conditioner starts overheating, stressing out, or starts malfunctioning in a way that inhibits the cooling process or hurts the components of the system, it will shut down abruptly. Then, it will be signaled to turn on again soon and do the same thing over again. This is short cycling.

Three Causes of Short Cycling

Now that we’ve explained what short cycling actually is, let’s talk about some reasons why it might occur in your system.

Refrigerant Leak

If your air conditioner leaks refrigerant, this can be a hugely inhibiting factor to the cooling process. An air conditioner without the proper amount of refrigerant will run incorrectly, and sometimes that can turn out to be short cycling. A proper refrigerant recharge should be in order, as well as a fix on the leak.

Clogged Air Filter

If your air filter gets clogged up, the system will be stifled for fresh air. This means that it’s going to work harder and heat up to the point of overheating. If it overheats, the system will shut down which means it will be short cycling. Make sure you clear out your air filter so it doesn’t do this.

Broken Component

A broken component in your air conditioner can cause friction, heat, and the eventual shutdown of the system. Remember, if it shuts down in the middle of a cooling cycle, your thermostat is going to signal for it to turn on again shortly. This can lead to strange noises and short cycling which both need to be addressed by a pro.

Call Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. to have your short cycling AC fixed!

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