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Ace Plumbing and Heating Blog

Why Is My Air Conditioner Short-Cycling?


You may think of your air conditioner as a single unit, but it is composed of many small pieces and parts. All of these components work together to cool or heat the temperature in your home, control humidity, and filter out contaminants. Any of these components can have a malfunction that contributes to your air conditioner’s short cycling. While most AC units last 10 to 15 years, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a few problems along the way. 

If you think your air conditioner is short cycling and need an expert in air conditioning in Chestermere, AB, give our team a call. We’re familiar with the parts that contribute to short cycling and can identify the problem quickly to get it fixed. 

What is Short Cycling?

Your air conditioner doesn’t run constantly. Instead, it runs in cooling cycles. Your thermostat monitors the temperature in your home and signals to your air conditioner when the temperature gets too warm and needs to be cooled. When your air conditioner receives this signal, the compressor begins to circulate refrigerant and fans turn on to blow the cool air. This cooling cycle usually runs for at least 15 minutes before turning off again and resting until the next cycle. 

When your home reaches the cooling temperature you designate, the thermostat signals the unit to cycle back down. A short cycle happens when your air conditioner turns off in the middle of a cycle before your home reaches the desired temperature. This leads to the cycle starting more frequently and ultimately running longer without ever truly cooling your home. 

Reasons for AC Short Cycling

Your air conditioner can short cycle for a number of reasons. You can try to troubleshoot the problem yourself, but if you need help you should call an expert. Allowing your unit to continue short cycling can lead to even more problems. Common reasons for AC short cycles include: 

  • The air filter is clogged and needs to be changed
  • There is ice along the evaporator coil
  • You have a refrigerant leak
  • The thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly
  • Your ventilation system has air leaks 
  • The AC unit is old
  • The unit is too big for the space it needs to cool

The Risk of Short Cycling

If you’re happy with the temperature of your home, you may be tempted to ignore short cycling. This can be dangerous because short cycling leaves your AC unit at risk for damage. Your AC uses a lot of power to start up during each cycle. Frequent cycles mean that your home is using more power, increasing the cost of your energy bill. It also strains the entire system and leads to faster wear and tear on other AC components. This can lead to higher repair costs down the road and even shorten the life of your unit by several years. 

Contact Ace Plumbing and Heating today to schedule an appointment for your evaporative cooler. Fusing Technology with Comfort.

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