When an air conditioner turns off and on frequently, without running for longer periods of time in between, this is called short cycling. There are many reasons your AC could be short cycling and it is cause to call for professional HVAC service. Short cycling will increase your energy costs and could lead to permanent damage of your air conditioner if not remedied.

Here are 5 main reasons why your AC unit is short cycling:

Failing Compressor

If the compressor in your air conditioner overheats, the system will shut off frequently to avoid damage to the unit. Having compressor issues will cause higher energy bills and a warmer than expected temperature inside your home. This is an easy issue to diagnose and repair that should not cost you an arm and a leg.

Poor Thermostat Location

Your thermostat is the director of your air conditioner, telling it when it needs to cool your home down. The air around the thermostat should be an accurate representation of the temperature throughout the home. If your thermostat is directly over a vent or near a window, it may think your home is warmer or cooler than it really is and then pass that inaccurate information along to the AC. To fix this problem, simply move the thermostat to a more centralized location.

Dirty Air Filter

This is the most common cause of your AC turning off and on frequently. A dirty air filter restricts the airflow and can cause many issues, including a frozen AC coil. When you call us at Quality Comfort, the first question we ask is always “when’s the last time the filter was changed?” This way we can better help troubleshoot your problem before we even come out to your home.

Oversized Air Conditioner Installation

When your air conditioner is too big for the home, it will cool the space quickly and then shut off. While this may not seem like a problem, it will actually increase your energy bills each month and cause the unit to have a shorter lifespan than expected. This can be remedied by replacing the unit with a correctly sized AC unit for your home or by making sure you choose the right HVAC contractor for the initial AC installation.

Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is the driving force your AC uses to cool your home; it’s like the oil in your car. When refrigerant, or what you may call “Freon,” levels run low then the system can’t function well. This will cause it to shut down and will also cause a lack of cool air coming from your vents. If your system is older and still on R22 refrigerant, it may be very costly to replace the refrigerant and a new air conditioner may be recommended and more cost-justified.  If you are losing a large amount of refrigerant, that could indicate a leak that needs to be addressed.