When an air conditioning unit cycles on and off in a short amount of time, it’s a problem that is known in the industry as short cycling. While it may not seem like much, it could be a symptom of a bigger problem.
Short cycling can lower the energy efficiency of the unit and causes greater wear-and-tear to the appliance. This can lead to more frequent breakdowns and costly repairs.
Short cycling can be caused by a wide variety of issues. Each one should be addressed as quickly as possible to minimize expenses and extend the life of your equipment.
One of the most common causes of short cycling is having a unit that is too large and too powerful for the space that it’s being used to cool. While you might think that a bigger air conditioner is always better, since it can cool a room down faster, nothing could be further from the truth. Having an oversized unit results in the home being cooled so quickly that the air isn’t properly dehumidified. This causes the room to feel damp and allows for greater fluctuations in temperature. When this happens, the room is always in a state of flux between feeling too hot or too cold. While this is happening, the unit is cycling on and off rapidly, causing the motor and other components to wear down prematurely.
While this may be the most common cause, there are other problems that may also cause the unit to short cycle.
For instance, there may be an ice buildup on the evaporator coils. This problem may have several causes, but the most common is an issue with the refrigerant. Regardless of the cause, iced-over coils can easily lead to short cycling. In order to diagnose this properly, a heating and air professional should be consulted so that the necessary HVAC maintenance can be completed as quickly as possible.
During your inspection, the technician will most likely inspect the air filter and change it if necessary. A dirty air filter can cause insufficient air to flow to the system, causing it to have to work harder to cool the area. If it’s having to work too hard, it may be overheating and shutting itself off automatically. If there’s an extreme air clog, short cycling may result as the system turns itself on and off.
Short cycling may also be caused by low refrigerant, which causes the condenser to overheat. Issues such as these should always be inspected by a professional who specializes in air conditioning repair, since any leak will need to be detected and repaired as soon as possible.
Finally, it could be that there is no issue with the air conditioner at all. It could be the fault of a dysfunctional thermostat. Your HVAC professional will be able to test and verify whether or not your thermostat is working properly.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our offices in San Jose, CA. We specialize in HVAC maintenance and air conditioning repair and have the knowledge necessary to solve your problem.