As the temperatures finally start to rise, many of us here in northeast Ohio have already turned our air conditioning units on to keep our homes cool and comfortable. A/C is a luxury we all appreciate on those hot and muggy days! As your home begins to cool down, however, you might notice that your air conditioning is running for a few minutes, shutting off, and then starting back up again. What’s causing this, and should you be concerned?
5 Reasons an Air Conditioning Unit Short Cycles
Air conditioning units switch between off and on modes by design in order to maintain the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. It’s a process that’s essential to proper functioning of your unit – the A/C removes heat from the air using refrigerant chemicals such as Freon, and afterwards cools the air by using compression. Then, the excess heat is absorbed and expelled outside.
However, when the system goes through those off and on modes too quickly, this is known as “short cycling.” There are a few reasons this occurs, including:
- A dirty or clogged air filter. If the air filter is dirty, the airflow becomes restricted, making your system work harder to effectively cool the air. The unit won’t be able to absorb the heat sufficiently, and consequently will shut down early. Always make sure to clean or change out the air filter monthly throughout the summer.
- Your A/C unit is too big for your home. We recently talked about how an improperly sized system can cause a variety of issues. Short cycling is one of those issues. When your air conditioning unit is too big and powerful for your home, it can cool your home too quickly, turning off and on constantly and causing big temperature changes. This can also lead to higher monthly energy bills, too.
- Issues with your thermostat. Sometimes, air conditioning short cycling is due to issues with the thermostat. For instance, maybe the thermostat is positioned in such a way that it’s in a drafty spot or in direct sunlight, which will make the compressor turn off and on incorrectly. In this case, you may need to consult a professional to move your thermostat to a different location in your home.
- Leaking or low refrigerant. Leaking refrigerant causes the levels to be too low and can lead to a variety of problems, including short cycling. This can also put excess stress on the compressor and needs to be checked out by a heating and cooling expert right away.
- Iced evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are responsible for absorbing heat from your home, and sometimes condensation from this process builds up on the coils. It’s not a problem unless the condensation freezes, which can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a dirty air filter or low refrigerant. There’s a bit of a theme here, obviously. Iced evaporator coils also put excess pressure on some of the components of your air conditioning unit and cause it to short cycle.
Need help troubleshooting issues with your air conditioning unit? If you have any questions your A/C unit short cycling, the team at Efficient Heating and Cooling is ready to help! If you’re in the greater Cleveland area, contact our team today! Or, give us a call at 216-663-6462.