If you’ve found yourself here, perhaps it’s because your air conditioning system is always kicking on and off and you’re not sure why. If this sounds familiar, your air conditioning system is likely short cycling.
Short cycling is when your air conditioning system completes a cycle too quickly, which is caused by an underlying issue.
Short cycling can lessen the overall comfort of your home, put excess strain on your air conditioning system, and increase your energy costs. Fortunately, Florida homeowner, you can stop your system from short cycling with a little help. Keep reading to learn what exactly short cycling is, the symptoms and causes if short cycling, and what you can do to stop or prevent it altogether.
What Is Short Cycling in Air Conditioning?
While all air conditioning systems are different, each system operates in cycles. The cycle begins when the air conditioning system kicks on.
As the air conditioning system circulates cool or warm air throughout the space, it runs until it reaches the desired temperature set on the thermostat. One cycle typically takes 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish.
While this is true for properly-working air conditioning systems, sometimes things go awry and cycles get a little wonky. You may notice, for example, that your air conditioning system kicks on and turns off very fast instead of running for 15 to 20 minutes. This may mean that your air conditioning system is short cycling.
AC Short Cycling Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of a short cycling air conditioner include:
1. Your AC Is Constantly Kicking on and Off
If you notice your air conditioning system kicks on and off in less time than the normal 15 to 20-minute cycle, it’s short cycling.
2. Your Air Filters Get Dirty Quickly
Have you noticed your air filters accumulate debris faster than they should? Short cycling can contribute to excess debris in your home due to impeded air flow.
3. There Is Less Refrigerant in Your System
If you’re wondering if your air conditioning system is short cycling, take a look at the refrigerant levels. If the levels are low, you likely have a leak someone within your system. This can directly cause your system to short cycle.
4. There Is Ice Buildup on the Evaporator Coils
Another symptom of short cycling is ice buildup on the evaporator coils. Icy evaporator coils make it harder for your system to remove heat from your home. This can put unnecessary strain on your system and cause it to short cycle as a result.
What Causes AC Short Cycling?
Now you know what symptoms to look out for if you suspect your air conditioner is short cycling, but what causes this to happen? Short cycling may be caused by a few different things, but here are some of the most common culprits:
1. Clogged Air Filters
As if you needed another reason to change the air filters in your home each month — doing so can prevent short cycling. Air filters work hard to collect dander, dirt, dust and other unpleasant debris from your home but they need to be changed regularly to avoid clogs.
A clogged air filter can impede the overall flow of air through your system, which can affect the cycles. If your air conditioning system is currently short cycling, check your air filter first.
2. Oversized Air Conditioner
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to the size of your air conditioning system, and an AC system that’s too big can cause short cycling.
This occurs because the large air conditioning system cools the home too quickly, causing the cycle to start and stop over and over.
Unfortunately, this can cause dramatic temperature shifts in your home as well as increased energy bills.
Think your air conditioning system is too big for your home? Call Climate Design for an inspection.
3. Refrigerant Leak
When there isn’t enough refrigerant, your air conditioning system won’t be able to cool your home properly. This can cause insufficient airflow which will result in short cycling.
Fixing a refrigerant leak isn’t as simple as adding more refrigerant, you’ll need a trained air conditioning technician to fix the leak and test the repair before adding more coolant to your system.
Refrigerant leaks can present potentially dangerous issues if not taken care of properly, so it’s imperative to call a professional immediately if your AC system is leaking refrigerant.
4. Frozen Evaporator Coils
A number of things can cause your evaporator coils to freeze. Airflow issues can prevent enough air from blowing over the coils, causing them to freeze. Forgoing annual maintenance can cause dirt buildup on the coils, which can cause freezing too.
Whatever underlying issue is causing your evaporator coils to freeze means your system is also at risk of short cycling.
5. An Electrical Issue
An underlying electrical issue can affect a single component of your system, or in more serious situations, the entire system. Whether wiring was installed improperly or has frayed over time, an underlying electrical issue can prevent your air conditioning system from cycling properly.
How to Fix AC Short Cycling
Before you can fix your air conditioner’s improper cycle, you’ve got to find the underlying cause of the short cycling.
If you think short cycling is your problem, we recommend starting small by changing your air filter. Best case scenario, your system is short cycling simply because the air filter is clogged. Swap the dirty air filter for a fresh one, and make a note to do this each month!
If a clogged air filter isn’t causing your AC short cycling, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a reliable technician who can perform a proper inspection. A technician will be able to check your evaporator coils, refrigerant levels, wiring system, and the overall system to determine the underlying cause of the short cycling.
Don’t Skip Your Annual Maintenance Checkup!
The easiest way to prevent short cycling in the first place is to schedule an annual maintenance checkup with a trusted technician. During a maintenance checkup, your technician will inspect your air conditioning system, perform any necessary tune-ups, and diagnose potential issues before they become a bigger headache. Homeowners who invest in routine maintenance are less likely to have their system short cycle.
Contact Climate Design for AC Service in Clearwater, FL
The last thing a Florida homeowner wants to deal with is an air conditioning system that isn’t cycling correctly. That’s why the Climate Design team is here to help.
Our professional team offers high-quality air conditioning and heating repairs for Tampa Bay, Florida homeowners and can diagnose what is causing your system to short cycle and address the issue fast.
Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment