You don’t often think about your heating and cooling appliances unless something is going wrong. At that point, you’re sure to perk up.
And few things make a homeowner pay attention faster than an air conditioner that doesn’t work in a hot summer. That’s why Spring Hill AC Repair is available to speak with you anytime.
Still, if an air conditioner shutting off is number one, number two is a high electric bill. And your electric bill is definitely going to be high if you’re experiencing frequent starts and stops. In HVAC terms, that’s called short cycling.
It’s expensive not only because it can raise your energy costs, but also because it can be a symptom of some very expensive problems that can damage your air conditioning system permanently if not caught early enough.
Short cycling directly affects your air conditioning systems compressor. Mechanically speaking, that piece of your system is absolutely critical to system function, and also the most expensive part to replace in the event of failure.
Here, we will lay out some common reasons your air conditioner might be short cycling, and what you can do about it.
1. Your thermostat is in the wrong place.
Your thermostat tells your air conditioning system what to do. It’s the boss, and the one with all the sensors. It’s important to place your thermostat somewhere that accurately represents the median temperature of your home. Examples of poor placement include:
Either of these, or others with similar effects, will cause your system to short cycle, and keep it from running at peak efficiency. The fix isn’t too complicated, though – just have your thermostat relocated by a Spring Hill air conditioning technician.
2. Air filter problems.
The dirty filter is the bane of every HVAC technician’s day. It is the cause of an overwhelming majority of problems in residential or commercial systems, and no matter how often we stress the importance of filter maintenance, it keeps happening.
We understand – out of sight if out of mind – but we recommend either setting calendar reminders in your preferred device or subscribing to a filter service. In fact, your best option is to make it part of regular scheduled AC repair calls.
A dirty filter causes problems with airflow, which among many, many other things can freeze your evaporator coil. A frozen evaporator coil is a common cause of short cycling. The fix, as we mentioned above, is remembering to replace or clean your filters as directed, or more often than directed if you have furry animals roaming the house.
If replacing the filter doesn’t correct your problem, call Spring Hill AC Repair and have a technician check to see if dirty filters have caused stress on your equipment.
3. Refrigerant leaks.
Refrigerant, ideally, doesn’t ever need to be replaced. It’s in a closed system – nothing in or out. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and leaks do happen. When refrigerant levels are low, your compressor and coils struggle to operate correctly.
Compressors often have a safety feature that causes them to shut off in the case of low pressure, but that, left unchecked, will cause a system to begin short cycling. Over time, that could even cause compressor failure.
The fix isn’t too complicated, though – have a technician fix the leak and charge your refrigerant, and you’ll hopefully be good as new. Checking refrigerant pressure is also part of a system tune-up, so schedule yours at least once a year.
4. Oversized system.
This is most commonly noted in newer installations, but it could have always been the case. If your system has been short cycling since installation, it is probably too powerful for your home.
Many homeowners are surprised to hear this – people are predisposed to think bigger is better in many cases. With HVAC, however, that isn’t the case. If a system is too big, it cools your home too rapidly.
When that happens, it doesn’t have time to properly dehumidify the air, or to run long enough to reach optimal efficiency. That leads to higher energy bills, because the power consumption is highest when a system turns on.
It also increases the chance of system breakdown or damage, and can shorten the overall life of your air conditioner. If you suspect an oversized system, the fix is to have a Spring Hill air conditioning expert do a load calculation to confirm.
That assessment will tell you what your next steps should be, and you may not love the cost, but replacing the entire system will be a viable solution.
5. Wiring issues.
Electrical fittings, wiring, control boards, switches … these are all important pieces in a very complex system. Over time, they can be loosened or even broken by movement, vibrations, or temperature-related stress.
These are things that would commonly be found during routine maintenance. The fix in that case is to repair, replace, or reconnect the part in question. For the homeowner, investing in annual or biannual tune-ups is a great way to ensure these things never happen in the first place.
Short cycling is common enough. However, it should not be ignored, as it can reveal or even cause serious underlying problems. Short cycling has enough causes that it’s difficult or impossible for an untrained person to diagnose the correct cause.
At that point, your local HVAC specialists are your best friends. Spring Hill AC Repair is always on standby to diagnose and repair a short-cycling air conditioner.
Call us today at 352-436-1876 if you need AC repair for your home or office!