What is Short Cycling in an Air Conditioning?

air-conditioning-warm-airSummer starts early here in Florida, and you want your air conditioner to be ready to go as soon as the first hot day hits. If you spot the signs of trouble – anything that doesn’t match the normal functioning of your system – you should turn it off and call in a repair service immediately.

Luckily, many serious problems display subtle signs of trouble early enough for you to do something about it. In these cases, you can do yourself a big favor just by checking your air conditioner the next time it runs. Among the things you should watch for is short cycling, which can be the sign of a serious problem. What is it, how can you spot it, and why is it such a problem for your system? Read on for the answers.

How Can You Spot It?

Short cycling is defined simply as an air conditioner that turns on and off multiple times in a short period of time: turning on, running for a few short minutes and turning off again, only to start up again a very short time later as the heat of the day warms your home. If you turn your system on and it runs for less than 15 minutes at a stretch, there might be a short cycling problem.

Why is it a problem? Because air conditioners consume far more energy firing up all the motors and other components – then shutting them down again at the end of the cycle – than they do simply running. If your system short cycles, it will cost a lot more in monthly bills than it might if it ran for at least 15 minutes or so. Furthermore, the added stress and strain on the rest of the system can add up to more serious breakdowns very quickly, and in some cases may even shorten the life of the air conditioner as a whole.

What Causes It?

The causes of short cycling can involve a number of different things, and if you notice a problem, you need to call in a qualified technician to properly diagnose it. Sometimes, the cause can be something very simple to fix, such as a clogged filter or a thermostat that’s malfunctioning.

In other cases, the short cycling may be caused by your air conditioner’s safety features kicking in. For instance, the drip pan may be clogged, and condensate will overflow if the system doesn’t shut down, or an overheating component may overload entirely if it continues to run. In these cases, the short cycling can both alert you to the problem and prevent more expensive repairs. (One of the many reasons why you should move swiftly should you ever detect short cycling.)

Sadly, short cycling can also be caused by an overpowered air conditioner. Homeowners can sometimes make the mistake of installing the most powerful system they can, unaware of the problems it causes. Sadly, in those cases, you usually need to replace the air conditioner in order to fix the problem.

For top-notch air conditioning repair in Boynton Beach FL, call on the friendly pros at Astro Air Inc. today!

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