Keeping Your Home Cool during the Sweltering, Summer Months

Why Is Your Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

by Anthony Graves

Your home's air conditioning helps make the hot weather of summer bearable once you are in your home. If your air conditioner doesn't seem to be able to keep up with the heat by turning on and off frequently, you have a problem with the unit short cycling. Here is what you need to know about this air conditioner problem.

What's Short Cycling?

And air conditioner is designed to run for a long period of time, get your home to the proper temperature, and then shut down and give the unit a break. However, it may be malfunctioning where it turns on for a short period of time that does not alter the temperature of the home before shutting down. It's important not to confuse the two, because air conditioning will not run continuously when it's working properly, but it still needs to run long enough to change the home's temperature.

When a unit turns on and off frequently when short cycling, it puts a lot of stress on the air conditioner's internal components. The blower motor and compressor will see a lot of unnecessary wear, and can even cause your energy bills to increase as a result. This could be happening for two reasons.

The Evaporator Coil Is Frozen

A common reason for short cycling is an evaporator coil that has frozen, which can happen for a few different reasons. The most common reason is that you have a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system, and the refrigerant is unable to cycle through and extract the heat from the air in your home. It causes ice to form on the evaporator coil and will not cool down the air. This problem can be fixed by having an HVAC professional find the leak, repair it, and recharge your air conditioner with more refrigerant.

The other reason is due to a dirty evaporator coil. The refrigerant may be flowing freely through the system, but the layer of dirt on the evaporator coil is causing problems with extracting the heat. It will cause ice to form on the part and prevent the unit from working properly. You can try letting the ice thaw on the part naturally by turning the unit off and then cleaning it.

There are many other reasons that your air conditioner is short cycling, which include electrical components that are damaged and hard to diagnose. Contact an HVAC contractor, like Shakley Mechanical Inc, to come to your home and perform a professional inspection. They'll be able to figure out the cause of short cycling and perform the necessary repairs.