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Short Cycling: What’s the Big Deal?

We hear this comment a lot in the HVAC industry. We tell homeowners about the terrible problem of short cycling and what it could mean for their air conditioner, but they respond with “it still works, doesn’t it? What’s the big deal?”

Well, not only will we tell you what the big deal is, but we’ll also talk about why this deal is so big. Short cycling can signify a number of different problems occurring in your air conditioner. Some of them can be fixed quickly, and others will, unfortunately, require the entire replacement of the system. Yep, it’s that bad.

If you’ve gotten here because you think your AC is short cycling, and you need air conditioning repair in Hammond, LA, then you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about everything there is to know about short cycling, and make sure you call us if you still need help.

What Is Short Cycling?

For the uninitiated, short cycling is when your air conditioner runs in short, frequent bursts. This is different from the usual long cycle that a system should be performing. Think about it this way:

When you walk to a nearby store or neighbors house, it’s a nice stroll, right? Imagine if you couldn’t walk, and instead only could run and stand. That’s a much more frustrating, energy-consuming experience right? Your air conditioner doesn’t want to run in these short, frequent cycles. Something is forcing it to do that, which we’ll get into in a second.

If you’ve ever been at home thinking “my air conditioner is running a lot today, and it keeps shutting off abruptly,” then your head is in the right place. You’re likely suffering from short cycling.

What’s Causing It?

While short cycling is a problem in and of itself, it’s always caused by something. A short cycling air conditioner will consume more energy to run, will perform a worse job of cooling your home, and it will likely lead to excess wear and tear on specific components of your system. Here are just a few ways that an AC can start short cycling:

  • Improper size. This is the worst-case scenario and you should hope that your system isn’t suffering from this problem. An oversized air conditioner will be forced to short cycle in a home that’s too small, because it creates too much cool air too quickly. Unfortunately, the only real way to alleviate this problem is to have your oversized system replaced with one that’s properly sized for your home. Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks twice about amateur AC installation services!
  • Refrigerant leak. Refrigerant leaks can cause short cycling because the system doesn’t have enough refrigerant to run a normal cycle. Instead, it’s forced to consume more energy and run multiple cycles to reach the average cooling demand.
  • Clogged air filter. Your air filter is in charge of keeping contaminants like dust and debris away from the sensitive components of your AC. When it gets clogged, your AC could start getting stifled. This means your system will struggle to get in fresh air and will likely start running a short cycle as a result.

Do you suspect your system is running short cycles? When you need it done right call Professional Heating & Air.

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