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Proudly Serving the Conway Area

Proudly Serving the Conway Area


Dewees HVAC Blog

Why Your AC Is Shutting Off and On Too Much


Have you noticed something isn’t right with your air conditioner? It’s not that it isn’t running, or that you’re not receiving cooling from it. No, the trouble is that the AC has gotten jittery with how it turns on and off. You hear the compressor kick-on far more often than usual, and the AC never seems to run long enough no matter the indoor temperature. But the AC also never seems to stay off for long either. 

If you think this quick stop-and-start behavior is a problem, you’re correct. We’ll shed some light on what’s going on, why it’s going on, and how to stop it from going on. 

It’s got a name: short-Cycling

The term for an AC caught in a rapid on-and-off pattern is short-cycling. An air conditioner goes through a cooling cycle when it turns on, and these cycles are supposed to last for 15 minutes or more. That’s the minimal length necessary for all the components in the AC to power up and remove enough heat from the house and distribute the cool air through the rooms to make a difference in temperature. 

When an air conditioner doesn’t complete a full cycle, it shuts off after less than 15 minutes. Because the air conditioner didn’t have an opportunity to lower the temperature in the house, it will turn back on again soon after, only to then shut back down again … and start all over. The AC has, essentially, gotten trapped in an endless start-up cycle. 

Reasons short-cycling may happen

Why does this happen? We can list off many sources for a short-cycling AC, since this is one of the most common symptoms of air conditioning malfunctions. Here are the ones we see the most often:

  • A clogged air filter that needs to be replaced 
  • The thermostat is misreading indoor temperatures as too low
  • The compressor is starting to wear down
  • Refrigerant is leaking from the air conditioner
  • The AC is too powerful for the house

Short-cycling is a problem, whatever the source

Short-cycling on its own—even if there weren’t a major problem like leaking refrigerant or a dying compressor beneath it—is a big malfunction for an air conditioner that spells trouble. An AC system draws on the most amount of energy when it starts up, so if it gets caught starting up more than unusual, the stress and strain cause big problems:

  • Energy drain: The compressor makes the biggest demand on the electrical supply when it starts up. Short-cycling will cause the cost of running the AC to begin to skyrocket. 
  • Frequent repairs: Running an air conditioner more than normal means its parts will wear down quickly. You can expect to have to call for frequent repairs with a short-cycling AC. 
  • Short service life: All that extra work on the air conditioner will shorten its expected service life. No repair is more expensive than having to replace an AC too early!

We have your short-cycling solutions

In most cases, you’ll need professional air conditioning repair in Little Rock, AR to fix the cause of short-cycling in your AC. We have a well-trained team to diagnose the problem and have it fixed. 

Dewees HVAC proudly serves the Conway area. Call us for help when you have a short-cycling air conditioning system.

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