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Gary Munson Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

AC FAQ: What Is Short Cycling?


We like to think of air conditioners as silent protectors, quietly cooling our homes while they sit outside doing their thing. However, when problems arise, sometimes it’s up to homeowners to figure out what’s going on using their keen senses!

One of those problems is called short-cycling, which is the process of your air conditioner turning on and off too quickly without performing a full cooling cycle. AC units need to run an entire cycle in order to cool your home properly and effectively, otherwise, they risk straining certain components of the system and causing a premature breakdown. So, let’s try avoiding that premature breakdown by talking about what causes the short-cycling of an air conditioner and how you can prevent such a problem.

If the problem requires professional AC repairs, don’t fret! Call our team for air conditioning repair in Orlando, FL and get this nipped in the bud before the scorching summer approaches!

What Is Short-Cycling?

As we mentioned earlier, short-cycling is when your air conditioner runs and shuts off too quickly before completing its full cycle. This leads to the system running more frequently, putting strain on certain parts, and overall adding stress to a process that’s already rather difficult.

What Causes Short-Cycling?

There is a multitude of issues that can cause short-cycling, but most importantly is the seriousness by which these problems need to be addressed. Short-cycling is no laughing matter and it’s definitely not a problem you can wait to repair in a few years—it’ll lead to the death of your AC system much faster than most other repair issues.

  • Oversized Air Conditioner. While it’s easy to understand the problems with having an undersized air conditioner, many homeowners don’t actually know that an oversized system can be just as bad! An oversized air conditioner will cool your home too quickly and will shut down, thus short-cycling and causing stress while also consuming more energy than it should. Air conditioners must be vigorously sized for the home they are fitted for. If you suspect that your AC is oversized, you’re going to have to replace it as soon as possible.
  • Low Refrigerant Level. Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your cooling system. Without it, your AC can’t properly cool your home. If you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak, your system will start working much harder to produce the same amount of cooling that it used to—causing it to start and stop irregularly. This is stressful to the system and will lead to a premature breakdown.
  • Dirty Air Filter. If your air conditioner has a dirty, clogged air filter, it’s going to have trouble cycling air through your home. The system will work too hard and end up shutting down prematurely to prevent overheating because it can’t get enough air. Clean or replace the air filter regularly to allow for proper cycling.

Do you hear your air conditioner turning on and off much faster than it should be? This is not just a one-time thing, or your ears playing tricks on you. It can be a serious problem that will lead to issues down the road.

Take care of short-cycling today by calling the professional team at Gary Munson Heating & Air Conditioning. You will be more comfortable with the best!

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