Why Won’t My AC Stay On?

Short cycling refers to the repetitive and frequent shutting down and restarting of an AC unit, which can be detrimental to its overall lifespan. While it is a common issue encountered in AC systems, it is not ideal. Typically, AC units have cooling cycles lasting around 10 minutes, but short cycling significantly reduces these periods. Consequently, the compressor ends up cycling on and off more frequently than necessary, leading to potential damage and inefficiency in the long run.

An example of this problem is as follows:

  1. Your thermostat is set to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. AC begins to start up and cold air blows into the household.
  3. AC Suddenly stops the process after only 30 seconds-5 minutes.

This is bad for the system because it is constantly trying to reach the desired temperature without ever getting to it and maintaining it. This would be like constantly starting your car then shutting it off every minute or so. While it may be able to handle it for a while, it is not adding any benefit and will cause even more problems the longer it persists. 

Why does this happen?

Short cycling can be attributed to various root causes. One prevalent factor is low refrigerant levels, which not only lead to ice accumulation but also contribute to other system issues. Additionally, the utilization of an oversized air conditioning system or a malfunctioning low-pressure control switch can be responsible. This switch plays a crucial role by deactivating the compressor when the refrigerant falls below the desired threshold for the system. Even if an adequate amount of refrigerant is present, an aging low-pressure control switch may malfunction, causing premature shutdown of the compressor. Moreover, this outdated switch can have detrimental effects on other components of the unit as well.

How can I fix this?

Short cycling is a big issue regarding cost, efficiency and health of the unit. There are a few steps one could take at home to find the underlying cause. However, consistent maintenance of the unit by a trained professional is the best way to prevent any of these problems from occurring. 

Here are ways you can help short cycling if preventative maintenance is not an option:

The initial step is to check on the filters within the AC. Many problems can be caused by clogged air filters, and it is a good idea to clean them even if it is not the root of this specific problem. 

The easiest step is to check the placement of the thermostat. If placed near the return air register or somewhere far from the central location of your home, it may get confused and produce the wrong readings. 

The above steps can be done easily at home. If short cycling still occurs, a professional will have to help with the next steps to find a solution. 

Refrigerant levels can be checked and refilled if necessary. They can look for leaks at the same time to help prevent any refrigerant loss in the future.  

Most cases of short cycling will be fixed after these steps are completed. On the off chance it is still causing problems, the low-pressure control switch should be replaced by a professional. 

After all this, the compressor may have to be replaced. The HVAC professional can check for each of these problems during the visit and make it easy for the customer. AC Tune Ups are recommended twice a year to avoid any problems such as short cycling. 

Call Island Comfort!

If you’re experiencing AC short cycling issues, it’s essential to address them promptly to prevent further damage and ensure optimal performance of your cooling system. At Island Comfort, a trusted family-owned business, we prioritize exceptional customer service and are dedicated to resolving all your AC concerns. Our team of experts is ready to provide top-notch maintenance services, ensuring that your system operates efficiently and reliably. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Island Comfort today and experience the difference of our personalized and professional approach. Your comfort is our priority!

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