Air Conditioner Cycling On and Off
Tampa Homeowners Guide to a Short-Cycling AC System
If you’ve noticed your air conditioner turns on and then turns off right away without running a cooling cycle, you’ve got a serious problem known as AC short cycling. When short cycling occurs, your AC system will like repeat this start-stop cycle over and over again.
In this guide, we’ll answer the most common questions Tampa homeowners ask us about air conditioner short cycling:
- What is AC short cycling?
- What causes short cycling in air conditioning?
- How do I fix AC short cycling?
- Does AC short cycling hurt my air conditioner?
What Is AC Short Cycling?
An air conditioner that turns on and off quickly, without actually running a cooling cycle, is said to be short cycling. Short cycling is the rare AC problem that is both a symptom of another AC problem and a cause of AC problems.
The Causes of AC Short Cycling
The #1 question homeowners ask us is “Why is my AC turning on and off rapidly?” There are several potential causes of a short-cycling air conditioner:
Your AC System Is Too Big for Your Home
When it comes to installing a new air conditioner, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Here in Tampa, folks tend to think they need the biggest air conditioner money can buy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
If your air conditioner is too large for your home, it can cool your home too quickly (yes, you read that right) and cycle off. The result is your AC unit will complete a higher number of cycles in a shorter period of time, leading to premature wear and tear and more frequent repairs.
Plain and simple, you should replace an oversized AC unit – it’s likely to cost you more money in the long run if you keep it.
Your Evaporator Coils Are Frozen
Frozen evaporator coils are a common cause of short cycling. The most common cause of frozen evaporator coils is a lack of AC maintenance. When your coils are frozen, the AC system can’t remove heat from your home, so your air conditioner works hard trying to do its job. This causes the system to overheat and shut itself off.
Your AC Filter Is Dirty or Clogged
A dirty air filter restricts airflow to your air conditioner. Hot air builds up, causing your AC system to overheat, which in turn causes your air conditioner to cycle off.
One of the easiest ways to prevent air conditioner short cycling is to clean or change air filters regularly. An annual AC maintenance plan should include air filter replacement.
Your AC Refrigerant Is Low
When refrigerant levels are low, your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, and may not even succeed in cooling it to the desired temperature. As a result of working overtime, your AC will short cycle.
Air conditioner refrigerant doesn’t just run low: Low refrigerant levels are a sign you have an AC leak that needs repair.
Your Air Conditioner Has Electrical Damage
Corroded electrical connections, loose wires, or a blown fuse can cause your air conditioner to short cycle due to a temporary loss of power. Air conditioner electrical problems should be fixed right away, and not by a DIY enthusiast – call a certified AC technician.
How to Prevent or Fix AC Short Cycling
The best way to prevent AC short cycling is with routine maintenance. Your air conditioner should be serviced once a year. Schedule an AC tune-up in the spring or consider signing up for an AC maintenance plan.
If you notice your AC turning on and off repeatedly, call for an AC inspection and repairs. Our technician will get to the root of your AC short-cycling problem and fix the underlying issue. Repairs might include:
- Replacing evaporator coils or condenser coils
- Repairing or replacing electrical components
- Cleaning or changing the air filter
- Repairing AC leaks (if possible) or replacing leaking parts
- Refilling AC refrigerant after repairs
- Clearing a clogged AC drain line
Is AC Short Cycling Bad for My Air Conditioner?
We mentioned short cycling is both a symptom of AC problems and a cause of AC problems. That’s because if left untreated, short cycling will cause damage to your air conditioner’s components. Short cycling can cause your AC compressor to burn out – a costly part to replace. Failing to fix AC short cycling will likely result in having to replace your air conditioner.
Why Choose All American?
What Our Clients Are Saying
Had some issues at 9pm with my ac acting weird and this company had someone out in less then 30 minutes and it was a simple fix ! Great company , great workers and fast service.
– Charlene Knight
Technicians and staff are well trained, knowledgeable and easy to work with. I'm very happy with services they provided. Always my first call.
– Russy Persad
We had questions concerning our AC unit and the tech came out and checked everything and answered all the questions we had. We called early in the day and got service the same day. Will be using them again in the future.
– Raylin C.
Great people. Very informative. Would definitely recommend and use this company again!
– Nicole Epps