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When Your AC Starts and Stops Too Often

air-conditioner-cabinetsDuring a hot summer day in Katy, air conditioners in home put in long hours. You’re used to hearing the air conditioner humming away for long stretches during a 90°+ late summer afternoon. This is normal, although we recommend setting the thermostat as high as comfortably possible. This will reduce the strain on the AC and allow it to cycle down for periods.

However, your air conditioning system should for cycles of 15 minutes or more. When you notice cooling cycles shorter than this, something may be wrong. The AC’s compressor shouldn’t run for less than 10 minutes and then turn back on a short time later and repeat the process. This is short-cycling, and you don’t want it affecting your cooling system.

The Trouble With Short-Cycling

An air conditioner draws on the most electrical voltage when its cooling cycle starts. The compressor motors need the extra power to start. When an AC becomes caught in its start-up cycle, it forces electrical usage higher.

But there are bigger concerns than paying too much on your utility bills. Short-cycling puts excess strain on the compressor—far more strain than running the AC for long hours. This increases the chance of a system breakdown and a shortened life for the air conditioner. An early replacement for an AC is an enormous expense!

Finally, an air conditioner will struggle to evenly heat a home if it only runs in short spurts. Upstairs rooms won’t receive enough cooling.

Why Short-Cycling Happens

Short-cycling is usually a symptom of another problem in the air conditioning system. The issue may simple and you can easily fix it yourself. Most of the time, however, you’ll need professional air conditioning repair in Katy, TX.

The simplest explanation is a clogged air filter. Check the air filter on the HVAC cabinet. If it’s congested, replace it with a fresh one. (And remember to replace it every one to three months from now on.) The clogged filter may have caused too much stress on the blower motor and forced the system to turn off.

Another common source for short-cycling is a malfunctioning thermostat. When a thermostat detects false temperatures (“ghost readings”), it will cut short the cooling cycle. An HVAC professional can repair this or put in a new thermostat.

The air conditioner may have refrigerant leaks. Any loss of refrigerant is serious, because it puts the whole system in danger. When an AC runs on a low refrigerant charge, it puts the compressor in danger of overheating. You must have licensed technicians seal the leaks and recharge the lost refrigerant.

The worst possible scenario is that the AC is the wrong size for the house. An AC that’s too powerful will trigger short-cycling because it cools down the house too fast. The thermostat will shut down the cooling cycle before it’s finished. Unfortunately, the only way to remedy this problem is to replace the AC. Call experienced professionals for this job so you won’t have a repeat of the undersized AC. The professionals will ensure you have an AC that’s the right size.

At AC Comfort, your comfort is our business! Schedule AC repairs today.

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