AC Short Cycling: Why Your AC Keeps Turning on and Off


AC short cycling is common during the summer months. When it gets hot enough outside, the thermostat inside your home reads higher temperatures and tells your AC system to cool things down. Occasionally, extreme outdoor temperatures outside can lead to the issue that’s known as short cycling.

What is AC Short Cycling?

Properly functioning air conditioning systems begin cooling your home at the right time. In other words, they only start cooling everything down if the temperature that you set has been reached indoors. Sometimes, though, AC units can begin running before your indoor temperature is at the right setting. If your air conditioner starts running before the rest of your home is at your desired temperature, then you’re experiencing what’s AC short cycling.

Ideally, your cooling cycle should start after your air conditioner has powered on properly. Your cooling cycle runs until your indoor temperature has met the one you set on your thermostat. Only after your indoor temperature is at the proper level should your system power down to finish its cooling cycle. Homeowners, especially those in Southwest Florida, need to rely on properly running cooling cycles to stay nice and cool indoors even during the summer months.

If your air conditioner is constantly turning on and off, it can eventually make your energy bills skyrocket before breaking down completely not long after. That’s why it’s so important for homeowners to understand what AC short cycling is and how it affects their lives. If you notice that your AC compressor doesn’t run for at least 10 minutes during your cooling cycle, it’s likely it’s turning off too early; this means you should contact experienced HVAC technicians like those at Best Home Services for a quick diagnosis of your issue and options moving forward.

Why Am I Experiencing Short Cycling?

There are several reasons that contribute to AC short cycling, and we’ve compiled the most common ones here for you to review. A good place to start when searching for causes of short cycling is your refrigerant. One of the most common issues that result in AC short cycling is a low level of refrigerant that also contributes to problems such as unwanted ice buildup.

Make sure that your thermostat is correctly placed in your room. This means that it shouldn’t be near any lamps or open windows that can cause your AC unit to start its cooling cycle when you don’t want it to. Incorrectly placed thermostats are common contributors to AC short cycling problem in addition to issues with low refrigerant levels.

Older AC units often include low-pressure switches that are responsible for turning off your system at the right time. These parts are prone to failing after a few years and can eventually cause issues with AC short cycling. If you’re not sure whether your problems with short cycling are related to an older low-pressure switch, it’s a good idea to have a team of HVAC technicians investigate your air conditioner and advise whether you need to replace your equipment or are simply dealing with an AC unit that’s a little bit too big for your needs.

Preventing AC Short Cycling on Your Own

Even if you aren’t experiencing any of the above issues, it’s highly advised that you regularly take steps to prevent short cycling and prolong the lifespan of your air conditioning unit.

To start, you should regularly clean or replace your unit’s filter as soon as you notice that it’s becoming too clogged. Clogged or dirty air filters can contribute to eventual problems with AC short cycling and are easy to take care of for nearly any homeowner regardless of experience.

Dirty and iced-up evaporator coils also contribute to issues with AC short cycling. Issues with evaporator coils often occur when AC units go too long without proper maintenance. Routine maintenance is vital to keeping evaporator coils free of nasty ice buildup and unwanted residue. Properly functioning evaporator coils should make it easier for your air conditioner to maintain a stable temperature without ever running the risk of overheating.

It’s easy to neglect your refrigerant levels as part of your routine AC maintenance. But low refrigerant levels can place stress on different parts of your AC unit and force it to work much harder than it would normally need to. When your refrigerant levels drop too low, your AC unit can start to short cycle as it fails to cool your home down. Keep your refrigerant at a normal level and contact experts like those at Best Home Services in case you need help replacing it.

Homeowners can occasionally run into the unfortunate fact that their AC unit is simply too big. Air conditioners that are oversized can cool your home too quickly and power down before you’ve reached your desired indoor temperature. Oversized air conditioners also create uneven cooling throughout your home and can contribute to higher-than-average energy bills.

Another alternative is that your air conditioner simply needs to be replaced. At Best Home Services, we don’t like having to tell any of our customers that their unit is beyond repair. Luckily, we provide top-of-the-line models that are both energy-efficient and friendly to your budget.

Many homeowners we work with are eager to fix problems with their conditioners themselves. Although we’re always happy to see our customers become more knowledgeable about their home’s heating and cooling system, some issues are worth having a second hand with. If you try to repair your AC unit yourself, you may accidentally make your problems bigger than they were. When this happens, you not only have to deal with AC short cycling but also risk developing other issues.

When you’re sure that your home is cooled down, you’ll have the peace of mind you deserve knowing both you and your family are comfortable. At Best Home Services, we understand that our customers appreciate having low energy bills while staying cool inside year-round. We also

understand the importance of proper AC maintenance for homeowners living in Southwest Florida. For this reason, we offer maintenance, installation, and repair services for both cooling and heating systems. Give us a call today at (833) 263-3097 to make sure that your AC unit is functioning properly.



Skip to content