Woman setting thermostat

Have you noticed that your air conditioner is turning on to run a cooling cycle, shuts off a short time later, only to start back up again a few minutes after that?

If it seems like your air conditioning system is having trouble making up its mind, it’s likely an issue known as “short cycling.” If you discover that your AC is short cycling, it’s important to contact a reputable HVAC company as soon as possible, as short cycling can increase system wear and tear, lead to higher energy costs, and negatively impact comfort levels.

In our most recent blog, the HVAC technicians at Poston Brothers Heating & Cooling discuss the causes of short cycling and what homeowners can do to fix this issue. For all of your home’s heating and cooling needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Poston Brothers today.

What Causes an AC to Short Cycle?

In the worst-case scenario, short cycling can lead to complete AC failure, leading to an expensive repair or even premature AC system replacement. Some causes of short cycling, though, are as simple as changing out a dirty or clogged HVAC filter, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Here are some of the most common causes of AC short cycling:

Oversized AC Unit

Bigger isn’t always better in the case of air conditioning units. If your air conditioner is too big and powerful for your home, it will cool the house down too quickly and then shut down, which can lead to short cycling. An oversized air conditioner can also cause higher energy bills, uneven temperatures and humidity issues. Unfortunately, the only solution to fix this issue is replacing your existing unit with an appropriately sized AC.

Dirty or Clogged Air Filter

Regularly changing HVAC air filters is a simple DIY task that many homeowners, unfortunately, forget to perform. An air filter clogged with dirt, dust and other debris restricts airflow, causing the system to work harder than necessary. This places additional stress on the blower and compressor, which can cause them to overheat and ultimately lead to short cycling.

Low Refrigerant Levels

An air conditioner cannot perform its job properly if there are low levels of refrigerant, which is usually caused by a leak. Low refrigerant levels put more stress on your AC equipment which can damage components or cause the compressor to overheat, leading to short cycling. Recharging refrigerant levels is not a DIY job and should only be performed by a qualified HVAC technician.

Electrical Issues

Another common cause of short cycling is electrical problems. Damaged or defective wiring and control boards can cause your air conditioner to start and stop at incorrect times. If you believe an electrical issue is causing your system to short cycle, contact a professional to inspect the AC unit.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

Yes, evaporator coils can freeze up even on the hottest days of the year, leading to a short-cycling air conditioning system. The most common causes of frozen evaporator coils include a lack of airflow, typically the result of a clogged or dirty air filter, dirty coils or low refrigerant levels. Evaporator coils remove heat from a home, and when they’re restricted, the condensation on the evaporator can turn into ice, leading to short cycling. We recommend contacting an HVAC company to inspect and clean your system’s evaporator coils.

Contact Poston Brothers for All of Your Home’s Cooling Needs

Poston Brothers has a rich history of providing the residents of Burlington, KY with quality cooling services since 1929. If your air conditioner turns on, just to quickly turn off, don’t hesitate to contact the heating and cooling experts at Poston Brothers today.