Is Your AC Short Cycling? Here Are The Possible Reasons

Experiencing HVAC short cycling? Learn about the possible reasons and find solutions with Sandium. Trust our expertise to resolve air conditioner short cycling issues!

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
Is Your AC Short Cycling? Here Are The Possible Reasons

What is AC short cycling? AC short cycling occurs when your air conditioner’s cooling cycle gets terminated prematurely and comes on again every fifteen minutes or so. This, in turn, causes the AC unit to fluctuate between on and off at that time. It is not a good sign.

AC short cycling makes the unit work harder to maintain efficiency and can consume more energy. More energy use will directly impact your monthly bills. Moreover, such on and off cycles will wear your unit down and affect the parts of the unit. You may find that you need to replace the unit much before you had planned to.

There could be a number of reasons why your AC is short cycling. Let’s look at a few of them: location of the thermostat, thermostat settings, dirt in the air filter, refrigerant leak, and wrong size of the AC unit.

Location of thermostat

It is essential to place the thermostat in a location away from the vents and the windows and in a more centralized location. AC short cycling happens when you install the thermostat in a place that is near a window or under the AC vent. Such a location would give a different reading about the actual temperature within the house and make it seem as if it is colder or warmer inside. Hence, the need for experts that know the perfect location.

Thermostat settings

It is possible that the thermostat’s setting is too high. You could try to bring it down and set the temperature lower to test for further short cycling. If your thermostat has a timer, you can check the timer and see if it needs to be changed.

Dirt in air filter

One of the things that will need regular cleaning and maintenance is the air filter of the AC. If the air filter has accumulated too much dirt, it will restrict air flow and cause the evaporator coils to freeze and cause AC short cycling. You may want to check the air filter before calling for a replacement.

Refrigerant leaks

A leak in the refrigerant is another reason that freezes the evaporator coils as it lowers the air pressure in the AC. If you hear any noise from the refrigerant pipe or warm air coming from the vents, or your energy bills are high, you likely have a leak in the refrigerant.

Size of the AC

The size of an AC unit must suit the room’s dimensions. While too big an AC unit for a room will cool the room quickly, it can cause high levels of humidity including cold and hot spots in your room. It is also one of the reasons for higher energy bills.

Knowing the possible reasons for AC short cycling should help you recognize the need for professional AC services. Remember that attempting to do it yourself could sometimes result in only more damage to your HVAC unit. Unless you have the right tools and training, a DIY project might only put you and your Bay Area family at the risk of accident or injury. 

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