It’s an exciting moment to turn your air conditioner on for the first time in the spring. For many of us, these systems are on all year except for maybe one or two months. But as you turn your system on, it runs a little bit and shuts off prematurely. And, to make matters worse, it keeps doing this over and over again. What’s going on?
Well, this is a problem we call “short cycling” and it’s where your system (as you can tell) runs in short, frequent cycles throughout the day. A short cycling air conditioner might seem like not that big of a deal but it will easily lead to other issues, inefficiency, and even an early replacement if you’re not careful.
This blog is going to cover everything you need to know about short cycling air conditioners, and why you should call us for air conditioning repair in Metairie, LA ASAP.
Short Cycling: An Explanation
When an air conditioner typically turns on, it runs for about 10-15 before it shuts down. This depends on the size of your air conditioner, the size of your home, and generally how old the system is. An older AC unit might have to run a bit longer than one that’s brand new, but that’s okay. Most of the electricity used for air conditioning is actually during the start-up of the system, so a longer cycle isn’t actually that detrimental to your cooling budget.
But that’s where our problem comes in. A short cycling air conditioner runs for about 5-8 minutes and then shuts off abruptly. This can happen many times throughout the day and it’s wildly inefficient. Since the energy-intensive part of the cooling process is the start up, your short cycling air conditioner is starting up more often each day, leading to higher bills and a more stressed out system.
Think about it this way, a short cycling air conditioner is going to have certain components more worn down than others, leading to an unbalanced system that might need early replacement.
3 Causes of Short Cycling
Now that you know short cycling is a problem, let’s talk about three of the main causes of it.
- Refrigerant leaks. Without the proper amount of refrigerant in the system, an air conditioner might run in short cycles to compensate for a full cycle.
- Clogged air filter. A clogged air filter will stifle the airflow of the system, causing it to overheat and shut down early.
- Oversized air conditioner. An air conditioner that’s too large will cool down your home too quickly, leading to a shorter and more frequent cycling pattern.
Repair or Replacement? Call a Professional
Should you get your air conditioner repaired or replaced? In most cases, a professional can repair the short cycling system and get it back to running normally. But in some cases, like the event of an oversized AC or one that’s had a botched installation, a replacement is necessary. Only a licensed professional will be able to accurately diagnose this problem.