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Why Does My AC Keep Turning On and Off So Often?

When your air conditioner turns on and off frequently, that is called short cycling. If you’re not familiar with how an air conditioner works, this may not seem unusual to you. But, it’s actually a huge red flag that something is wrong.

It’s enough of a problem that you need to call and schedule an appointment for air conditioning repair in Birmingham, MI before it becomes an emergency. You can also keep reading to learn more about what short cycling is, why it happens, and what you can do about it.

What Is Short Cycling?

First, let’s talk about what is a normal cooling cycle for your air conditioner. Your AC turns on and off throughout the day to cool your home and does not run continuously without shutting off. Usually these cooling cycles last for between 15 and 20 minutes, turning off again for another 15 or 20 minutes and then repeating. If your air conditioner is turning on and off every few minutes, that is called short cycling. A cooling cycle is never able to complete for some reason, and so your thermostat continues triggering your AC to turn on for cooling without ever being able to achieve your desired results. 

Why Is Short Cycling a Problem?

You may be wondering why short cycling is a problem. If your home still feels comfortable, is it really that big of a deal? The short answer is yes. Short cycling puts a lot of strain on your system because the motor is not designed to turn on and off so often. By allowing it to continue, you are shortening the lifespan of your air conditioner and even risking a complete system breakdown.

Why Does Short Cycling Happen?

There can be a variety of factors that contribute to short cycling. One reason your air conditioner may be short cycling is because the air filter is too full of dust and dirt that blocks airflow going into the system. Luckily, this can be an easy fix, because all you have to do is change out the air filter for a clean one. As long as you change out your air filter on time each month, it should never get full enough to block air flow into the system. 

There’s also a chance that your air conditioner is too big for your home. If your air conditioner is more powerful than what you need to cool your home, it can lower the temperature in your home very quickly, and your thermostat will signal for a cooling cycle to end before the cycle can completely remove heat and humidity and channel it outside. As a result, your home is not actually as cool as you want it to be and your thermostat will signal for your air conditioner to turn back on a short period of time later.

You may also have a refrigerant leak, frozen evaporator coils, or other malfunctioning components contributing to short cycling. Any time you have doubts about your air conditioner’s operation, schedule an appointment to make sure that everything is OK.

How to Prevent Short Cycling 

You can prevent short cycling by changing your air filter regularly, scheduling annual professional maintenance, and checking thermostat placement. Our team can talk to you about your options for relocating your thermostat if we think that is a problem.

Contact Charter Home Comfort today to schedule an appointment with our professionals for air conditioner service. Old fashioned values with tech savvy results! 

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