We know how important cooling your home is in Hawaii. An AC turning on and off can indicate a concerning problem. Of course, this is not always the case; there could be a simple DIY fix for your AC system.

The start and stop AC cycling you notice has a name: short cycling. This type of HVAC malfunction typically results from your air conditioner overworking itself. 

Here are the most common causes of short cycling, as well as possible methods of prevention. 

What Is Short Cycling?

The term “short cycling” describes a situation in which your HVAC unit turns on and off repeatedly before completing an entire cycle. An AC cycle is complete at the point when the unit turns off after reaching your desired temperature. There are several reasons for short cycling; luckily, routine maintenance can help avoid most malfunctions.

Electrical Malfunctions

A thermostat is the control center for the entire HVAC system. When the electrical signals between a thermostat and an air conditioner unit are damaged, the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly without completing a cycle.

If changing the batteries on your thermostat doesn’t fix the problem, give our HVAC experts at Island Comfort a call for assistance.

Other electrical malfunctions include issues with circuit boards, the compressor, and run capacitors. Each failure can ultimately result in a damaged HVAC system as the unit overworks to balance the temperature.

Thermostat Location

The cause of your AC turning on and off could be the wrong thermostat location. Suppose a previous homeowner placed the thermostat near a window, air vents, or along the back wall of your kitchen. In that case, you will likely have problems maintaining a consistent temperature.

Your AC continues to cycle on and off when inaccurate temperature data is transmitted from the thermostat. If you believe this may be the cause of your AC troubles, contact your HVAC to discuss moving the thermostat to a more central location.

Oversized HVAC Unit

An oversized air conditioner can cause short cycling. In this instance, as the AC cools a smaller space at an excessive rate, the desired temperature is achieved too quickly, and the unit turns on and off more frequently. While this may not seem serious, internal components can become damaged due to excessive wear and tear.

If your air conditioner keeps turning on and off despite regular maintenance, it’s possible your AC wasn’t sized correctly for your home. 

Call your local HVAC technician to assess the size of your AC in relation to the square footage of your home. A professional installation should include a complete evaluation to avoid installing the wrong size AC.

7 Ways to Prevent Short Cycling

Short cycling continuing for long periods can lead to increased utility bills, damaged equipment, and decreased AC lifespan. It is important to know how an air conditioner works and what can cause it to turn on and off continuously.

Below are seven ways to ways to troubleshoot and prevent an AC turning on and off repeatedly.

1) Check air filters

Check for dirty filters monthly. A dirty air filter restricts airflow, which causes your AC unit to work harder. The more contaminated the filter, the more likely you’ll notice your air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly.

2) Clean or replace condenser coils

If there is a buildup of dirt or debris in the coils, this also restricts airflow. Watch for leaves blowing into your air vents during the fall season, and clean them out during this time of year.

3) Add insulation

Adding insulation to your home prevents warm air from leaking out of your home and escaping into the air conditioning system. This is important because, if this happens, it causes your AC to turn off more often due to a lack of cool air.

4) Clean the register

Dust and dirt build up on the vent registers, so make sure to clean them out every few months to prevent this issue. You can use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool or duct tape.

5) Get an air purifier

Air purifiers filter the air in your home and remove any pollutants causing your AC to turn on and off constantly. Clean indoor air quality means less debris passing through your air filters and reaching your evaporator coils.

6) Check for refrigerant leaks

You may have a leak if your AC unit isn’t blowing cold air at all. Refrigerant has no odor or color, making it difficult to detect. Even the most mechanically-inclined DIYer doesn’t typically possess the knowledge or tools to locate a refrigerant leak. The good news is that your HVAC technician is equipped to discover and resolve this issue quickly.

7) Inspect evaporator coils

Evaporator coils work by absorbing heat and releasing that heat outside. When these coils freeze up, they can no longer do their job. Frozen coils can be caused by poor airflow, a faulty control board, or a refrigerant leak.

Inspecting evaporator coils can be tricky, but removing the panel that encloses the coils can allow a visual inspection. Again, this is a task easily performed by your HVAC technician.

Stay Cool: Call the Pros

At Island Comfort, we understand how imperative it is that your air conditioner functions correctly at all times. Our professional team ensures that all AC repairs exceed your expectations.

Contact us at (888) 781-0364 for more information regarding AC services and other products.