Among the many air conditioner issues, short cycling is one of the harmful problems the appliance can face.
It means the air conditioner stops operating before it reaches your required temperature. In simpler words, its cycle is shortened.
However, it is not something naturally happening to the appliance; the lack of the owner’s attention is the most probable cause.
If you are also facing the same problem, read on. You will come across some effective tips to prevent problems and fix them if they occur.
Even if you haven’t faced short cycling with your AC yet, you should at least take preventive measures to prolong the life of your appliance.
- 1 What Is Air Conditioner Short Cycling?
- 2 Causes of Short Cycling
- 3 How Is Short Cycling Detrimental for Your Ac?
- 4 How to Prevent Short Cycling?
- 5 Fixing the Short Cycling
- 6 Final Thoughts
What Is Air Conditioner Short Cycling?
Short cycling is an issue that any thermal comfort-providing appliance can face.
Air conditioner short cycling occurs when your AC shuts off before reaching your desired temperature.
This occurs when the system inside has a malfunction due to which it is unable to complete its full cooling cycles.
Usually, an air conditioner will have a maximum of three cooling cycles every hour.
In one cycle, the compressor operates for 10 minutes to complete a full cooling cycle; it will rest for more than 10 minutes, and it goes on.
However, during short-cycling, the operation and break time increases a lot, creating massive wear on the compressor.
Causes of Short Cycling
Before you can solve a problem, you need to know its cause. Here are some factors that may result in short-cycling in AC.
One of the main reasons for AC short cycling is the installation of an oversize capacity AC.
The oversized unit will use excessive energy to cool down the room, causing an uneven distribution of conditioned air inside the room.
With unbalanced air distribution, the AC thermostat starts to warm up and cool down faster.
In order to compensate for the thermostat, your AC will turn on and off more often than needed, causing short cycling.
Low-Pressure Control Switch
The low-pressure control switch also triggers short cycling in the air conditioning system.
Usually, when the AC becomes too old, the control switch loses its pressure.
Hence, when the AC’s refrigerant falls below a certain point, the low-pressure switch constantly shuts off the compressor.
Poorly Placed Thermostat
Faulty or poor thermostat placement can misinterpret temperature reading.
Therefore, it can fool the air conditioner with incorrect readings, deteriorating the cooling cycles. As a result, short cycling can occur.
Like any other appliance, the AC needs maintenance and care, even if it is newly bought.
The truth is, people who forget or avoid routine maintenance are more likely to encounter short cycles.
Due to regular check-ups, you can identify problems early on. Timely detection will ensure that issues are resolved before they get worse.
Due to maintenance failure, issues such as clogged air filters, worn-out compressors, leaked or blocked ventilation systems, corroded sensors, and much more can occur.
Fall in Refrigerant Level
Over time, the AC’s refrigerant level might fall. A low refrigerant level causes the AC to use more energy for cooling the room.
Therefore, when it uses energy beyond its capacity, it starts to malfunction, causing short cycles.
An Issue in the Electrical System
Electrical issues are not in your hands, but you can avoid operating the AC when your home encounters such things.
Rapid voltage up-down can disrupt the wiring board and electrical system of your AC, resulting in short cycles.
How Is Short Cycling Detrimental for Your Ac?
Let us look at some possible results of AC short-cycling, which none of us wants to face!
- Reduced lifespan: When an electrical appliance immaturely shuts off and turns on, it will put a massive strain on its electrical system. If it is not fixed urgently, the impact will lower the overall life of the AC. Due to short cycles, the compressor faces the most stress compared to other parts. Therefore, it will wear out quicker.
- More utility bills: The AC requires more energy to shut off and turn on compared to when it is running normally. As a result, in short cycles, your AC will consume twice or thrice the energy, spiking up your electricity bill.
- Undesired room temperature: AC’s facing short cycles turn off suddenly without reaching the set temperature. This constant on and off will lead to unsatisfactory room temperature.
How to Prevent Short Cycling?
To prevent short cycling in the future, you need to take these steps for your AC-
Choose the right capacity AC: If you are going to buy an AC, the first thing to consider is its capacity compared to the room. If you don’t have this knowledge, ask an expert for help. However, if you have already bought an over or under-sized AC, get it replaced to restore its optimum efficiency and avoid short cycling.
Avoid placing the thermostat in a heated place: It is vital to place the thermostat in the correct place and position. If you place the thermostat outside, the sunlight heat can result in a false reading. Similarly, placing them near vents or other heat-generating appliances will do the same.
Carry a maintenance routine: The routine is completely up to you, whether you want a weekly or bi-weekly routine. Whatever your routine is, follow it constantly to ensure AC’s good health. In the maintenance routine, try to incorporate:
- Cleaning or changing the air filters to allow smooth airflow
- Checking the vents to discover any leakage or blockage
- Adding refrigerant if needed
- Changing the low-pressure control switch with a brand-new one
- Checking the compressor to discover any wear and tear
Fixing the Short Cycling
Above, we have seen some preventive measures for air conditioner short cycling.
However, what if your AC is already suffering from it? If you detect it early, you can fix the issue all by yourself.
Try to figure out the problem from the list that you think was ignored.
Suppose you have installed the right-sized AC.
Still, if you fail to prevent issues, simply follow the maintenance steps explained above, one at a time, to see any positive changes.
You can call a professional to help you out with the maintenance.
Not only will they help, but they will also detect any other issues relating to the short cycling, such as worn-out wiring or compressor.
AC short cycling can cause immense discomfort and irritation. That is why I have tried to write about all the possible causes and preventive measures regarding this issue.
If you have little to no knowledge regarding an AC’s mechanism, it is better to call an HVAC professional as early as possible.
Or else, without the experience of prior handling, you may end up disrupting other system functions.