Air Conditioner Short Cycling

Causes and Effects on Your Cooling System

What does it mean “Air Conditioner Short Cycling”?

Air Conditioner Short Cycling

Air Conditioner Short Cycling

When you hear the phrase “air conditioner short cycling” it refers to the compressor cycles on and off too frequently. In a normal working air conditioner, when a set room temperature is reached, the outdoor compressor turns off for some time before it turns back on again to maintain the indoor conditioned air. However, sometimes systems can go through fast and frequent cycles due to a number of possible factors. This is known as “short cycling.” If your air conditioner is short cycling, it can result in poor performance, failed compressor and no doubt, higher energy bills. For Instance if an air conditioner cycles on and off every 10 minutes when outdoor temperature is 20 degrees, you are most probably experiencing short cycling.

What Can Cause Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

  • Sizing

    Number One Cause of many air conditioner short cycling is an oversized system. If your air conditioner is too big for your home, it constantly and powerfully tries to cool your home. This will result in too big of temperature swings in your home. In addition to consuming more energy and possibly more frequent break downs.

  • Iced evaporator coils 

    Ice can build up on your evaporator coils for a number of reasons. When this happens, it can cause a domino effect of problems that force your air conditioner to shut down soon after it turns on.

  • Improper air flow

    When you forget to change your furnace filter, your air conditioner has to work harder to compensate for the loss of airflow. This puts excess pressure on a few of your air conditioner’s components (like the blower motor and compressor), which can cause them to overheat and make your air conditioner short cycle.

  • Refrigerant levels 

    Refrigerant moves heat outside, cools the compressor windings and circulates oil to lubricate the compressor, proper charge is extremely important. An overcharge air conditioner will reduce your comfort because a flooded evaporator does not dehumidify. Your cooling system will be incapable of controlling sensible heat while needlessly consuming excess power as it runs for hours doing nothing good.

What Should I do in case my Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

As a homeowner if you suspect that your air conditioner short cycling, you can first check your air filter and, if it’s clogged, replace it with a new filter. Otherwise, our expert staff are on call so that we can uncover the problem and make any necessary repairs. Short cycling can lead to long-term problems with your system, so it should be taken care of as soon as possible. You can always fill out the form below and request an appointment online.


Today, as in the past, some technicians (the non-professionals) connect a gauge set to a poorly performing system and immediately tell your stories. Make sure you you become aware of the diagnosis before ordering a repair. Plus your HVAC technician will first provide diagnosis before troubleshooting, such as checking air flow problems as well as refrigerant levels in your system. Also get a written report of the diagnosis and repairs done on the system for future reference.


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