Why is Short-cycling Bad for Your AC?

Short-cycling is used in the world of ventilation, heating, and air conditioning as a term that explains where an air conditioner or furnace frequently turns on and off. When your HVAC is short-cycling, you will notice that your equipment is running, and with a shorter cycle, your system needs to work harder.

Someone who does not know the signs of short-cycling will not be able to identify that their HVAC is going through it. You do not necessarily have to contact a commercial appliances repair to point it out. Ignoring it will not be effective because, in the long run, you will be dealing with more damage. Find out why short-cycling is bad.

What is it?

An air conditioner needs refrigerant in order to absorb the latent heat that is in the indoor air and move that heat outdoors. The HVAC compressor is important because the refrigerant will not compress and circulate through the condenser without it. The refrigerant will also not be distributed to the other parts of the AC when this happens. The “cooling cycle” or cooling happens while the compressor turns on.

Normally, most air conditioning systems have a cooling cycle 3 times in an hour, and each one is about 10 minutes. The compressor runs for 10 minutes and then stops for 10 minutes before the cycle repeats 2 times in an hour.

Short-cycling is when the cooling cycle lasts less than 10 minutes, which causes the compressor to shut off and on more often.

Why is it a Problem

Yes, it still cools, but there are 2 main issues caused by short-cycling;

  • In case the compressor shuts off right away, the cooler air will fail to not reach all of the rooms. You will notice that your house will start to have hot spots, so your environment will generally be less cool.
  • It will cause the compressor to push harder. This causes a lot of issues, like higher electrical bills, a shorter life span, and more repairs.

What Causes Short-cycling

  • A clogged air filter – Which is why you must change the filter every 1 to 3 months when you run the AC regularly.
  • The AC will lose refrigerant much faster – This is a major problem because it eventually causes the compressor to overheat and you would have to replace it.
  • Oversized air-conditioner – If you noticed that the air-conditioner short-cycles often ever since you had it, oversizing could be the cause. This problem requires you to install a new air conditioner. That is why you must only entrust the installation to AC professionals.
  • Thermostat miscalculation – In case the thermostat reads the temperature wrong it may signal the compressor to turn off prematurely.

What Can You Do About it?

The best way to prevent short-cycling is to get your HVAC system regularly maintained with cleanings and biannual inspections. In this process, a trained technician spots potential issues and correct them prior to short-cycling.

You can also spend more money on technologies like air conditioners and a variable capacity furnace, which adjusts the equipment output instead of turning it off. You should check the thermostat dead-band settings. This will allow you to specify a temperature band so that your HVAC equipment cycle happens less often.

Weird Noises

If you hear any type of weird noise from your AC, that means something should be fixed. If you ignore any problem, the issue will only grow worse until you replace the air conditioner. That is why you should always observe weird noises.

You can contact HVAC repair services DC if you think your AC is short-cycling.