The term short-cycling describes a condition where a heating or cooling system starts to turn on and off rapidly over an extended period. In an air conditioner, short-cycling consists of the compressor kicking in, but then shutting off only a brief time later before it can complete its full cooling cycle. Not long after, the compressor comes on again and the process repeats.
This is not something you want to happen to your air conditioner: it wastes power, increases the stress on components leading to multiple repairs, and significantly reduces the lifespan of the system. When short-cycling starts, call on professional HVAC technicians immediately. They will need to determine why the AC is short-cycling in order to fix it, since there is more than one reason for this problem to occur. Below are three of them.
#1 – There is a refrigerant leak
A drop in the refrigerant charge in an AC will create numerous problems; short-cycling is one of the most prominent. Because an air conditioning system does not consume refrigerant as it works, a loss of refrigerant happens because of leaks in the lines or along the connections to the compressor. Repairs must seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant.
#2 – The thermostat is malfunctioning
If the thermostat in a home is incorrectly reading the temperatures, it will start to signal the air conditioner’s compressor to come on too soon and shut off too early. Repairs can recalibrate the thermostat, although in some cases it is better to have the technician replace the older thermostat with an upgraded model with superior features.
#3 – The air conditioner is oversized
This is an error that often happens when amateurs install an AC, and it’s a good reason to always hire professionals to do this work. If an oversized air conditioner is short-cycling (and it probably will) the only solution is usually to replace it… and make sure that a professional team handles the job this time.
For air conditioning repair and other AC services in Burlington, VT and the Plattsburgh, NY area, rely on the 23 years of experience at Red Rock Mechanical.