Is your air conditioner turning on and off so much you can’t help but notice? Are you concerned that it might be a sign of trouble?
When you live somewhere as warm as Spring Hill, AC repair isn’t something you take lightly. Air conditioning is more than a luxury to Floridians – for many people, going without would be a considerable health risk.
Thus, it’s totally understandable that you’d have serious concerns if your system were behaving oddly – and turning on and off frequently is indeed odd. HVAC contractors refer to that behavior as short cycling. It has many causes, and none of them are good news. A central air conditioner that is short cycling should be serviced as soon as possible.
About Short Cycling
Short cycling isn’t hard to detect. Your system will shut on and off a lot. Sometimes, it can happen over just a few minutes. This has a definite and measurable impact on your air conditioner, and on the comfort of your home.
A residential air conditioning system may begin short cycling for a variety of reasons. We’ll cover some of the most common causes here in this article, and help you figure out what your next step should be.
First, make sure you are actually short cycling. The system should turn on and off from time to time. Odds are, if you’re suddenly noticing those stops and starts, it’s happening too often, but consult your owner’s manual or call your service company and make sure.
The last thing you want is to land yourself with an expensive repair bill for no reason.
Once you’ve confirmed that you’re dealing with a short cycling system, you will want to know why. Let’s dive right in.
Common Causes of Short Cycling
Oversized system. The most common cause we see for a system that short cycles is that it is not correctly sized for your home. If it were too small, you wouldn’t see short cycling – it would run basically all the time.
However, if it’s too large and powerful for your home, it will cool your home too fast. That forces the system to stop and start. That leads to a whole mess of problems, the most obvious of which is that your home isn’t as comfortable as it should be.
When a system is too powerful, it cools too quickly to properly dehumidify, and as we all know, in Spring Hill, air conditioning comfort depends quite heavily on dehumidification.
Your system will also be in danger of breaking down, and your bills will be higher than they should be because a system does not run as efficiently when it short cycles.
Thermostat issues. Another issue you may have is a faulty thermostat. It could simply be malfunctioning, in which case it will need to be replaced. However, even if it works properly, if the thermostat is placed too close to a delivery vent, the cold air washing directly across it will cause the thermostat to get a false reading of the room temperature.
Essentially, it’s being tricked into thinking the room is done cooling down, so the system shuts down. Then a few minutes later, the thermostat will correctly read the ambient temperature in the room, and turn the system back on. The solution is simple enough: move the thermostat!
Dirty or clogged air filters. Air filters may be the most common cause of problems in an air conditioning system. The irony is that it is also the easiest thing to avoid. All you have to do is clean or replace them as directed by the manufacturer.
When the filters are dirty or clogged, it makes the system work harder to recirculate air. That extra work falls on the compressor and the blower, and can cause overheating, which in turn causes a shutdown, which in turn causes short cycling.
Ice on the evaporator coils. The evaporator coils gather heat from air in your house, which causes condensation to form on them. That condensation can ice over for a number of reasons, including dirty filters, low airflow, or refrigerant issues.
You’ll want to turn your system off immediately to give it time to thaw, contact Spring Hill AC repair, and get a professional out to find the source of the problem.
Low refrigerant. Speaking of low refrigerant, in addition to causing ice to form on your evaporator, it can cause short cycling all on its own, in much the same way that clogged air filters can.
Low levels of refrigerant force the air conditioner to work harder to compensate, which stresses out various parts. Low refrigerant is rare, and almost always accompanied by a leak. Because refrigerant requires a licensed handler, the best solution is to have someone come out, locate and repair the leak, and charge your refrigerant back up to optimal levels.
It is very important to note that short cycling is not a small problem.
It is a sign of many potentially large problems. Like the check engine light in your car, it isn’t something you want to ignore. Having an annual tune-up of your central air conditioner is a good way to avoid most of these problems.
If you’re considering installing a new central air conditioner system, you can make sure to avoid improper sizing. As for existing systems, the old adage by Ben Franklin applies – even though he was talking about fire safety.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
And, don't forget, we're here if you need AC repair plus you can save $35 with any paid repair. So call us today at 352-436-1876!
It’s a phenomenon anyone with central air has probably encountered at least once: the strange room (or two) in the home that is hotter or colder than the others. Regardless of your thermostat settings, these rooms won’t even out. It can be a baffling experience, and if that room is, for instance, a bedroom, it can be a real problem.
Here in Spring Hill, AC repair calls often involve this phenomenon. The hot summers don’t allow for taking chances. If you’re experiencing this inconvenience, you should call for air conditioning service. However, forewarned is forearmed, so in this article we will go over most of the common causes of warmer rooms.
Pro Tip: A few of these you can check yourself, so go through this simple checklist before calling an air conditioning service company.
1. Closed vents. The first and most obvious thing is to make sure that the vents in that room haven’t been closed or obstructed. Commonly, people forget that the vents have been closed. Sometimes, we find that people have even forgotten the vents were there, and a wardrobe or other piece of furniture is blocking airflow.
If the vents in your home are closed, open them, and congratulations on your solved problem! If your vents are open and the room is still refusing to cool off, read on.
2. Drafts or open windows. This is another no-brainer, but if you’re letting the hot summer air into the home, your central air isn’t going to be able to cool that room down properly. It may not be something as obvious as a wide-open window, however.
Check to ensure you haven’t got drafts at the edges of the window frame or similar places. If you do, having those sealed and insulated will allow your room to cool properly, and probably lower your energy bills, to boot!
3. Dirty air filters. Large central air conditioning systems can sometimes struggle to circulate enough air. This is made more difficult if the air filters aren’t cleaned regularly. You should be able to check, and if your air filters are dirty, try cleaning them thoroughly or replacing them.
It may just resolve your temperature inequality. If your air filters are clean, something else is to blame. It could be:
4. Damaged or kinked supply ducts or leaky ducts. Sometimes your ductwork is the problem. If you are able to, check your supply ducts. If they are damaged, crushed, or kinked, certain rooms may not receive the same amount of cooled air. This is also the case if the duct leading to that room is leaking.
In either case, you’ll need to get an estimate from residential contractors to replace or repair the offending ductwork. If none of those issues are at fault in your home, you may have issues with air balancing in your home. That’s a more complex issue and will definitely require professional intervention.
Air Balancing 101
We knew you’d ask that question. Ideally, your central air is distributing cool air evenly to each room in your house. Your air conditioning system is balanced if your rooms are all receiving cool air at approximately the same time, and reaching the same temperatures.
If you’ve got rooms that stubbornly remain warm, and none of the above steps have solved your problem, we call that an unbalanced system. There are a number of factors that could lead to an unbalanced system.
Common Causes of Unbalanced Cooling, and What To Do About It
When your system is installed, an effort should be made to balance it to your home, by running larger ductwork or more elaborate venting to get cool air to rooms that need it more. This happens in conjunction with sizing your system appropriately for your home.
Then dampers are often introduced, splitting your home into heating and cooling “zones,” and restricting access to that ductwork. Often, this process is automatic: when you’ve set your thermostat to ignore a certain space, the damper will shut that area off from the system.
Essentially, a damper is responsible for controlling airflow. So why does your home have balance issues?
1. If you have more than one level or story, your home is more difficult to properly balance. You’ve got rising heat and long duct runs to contend with, and that can sometimes strain the capabilities of your system. Zoning via dampers is actually intended to minimize this problem, and multilevel homes often have such a system in place.
If you do not, you may consider adding dampers. If you do, and are still finding warmer rooms, your dampers may not be functioning properly. A tune-up from your friendly neighborhood Spring Hill AC repair specialists can probably take care of that.
2. Your ducts may not be properly insulated, which will leave rooms at the end of a long duct run much warmer. They’re not receiving the full force of the blower’s recirculation. Having your air conditioning ducts inspected for leaks and insulating them is an easy fix to this, but a more complex restructuring of your ducts may also be in order.
3. Insufficient return vents will fail to suck the warm air away from rooms furthest from the indoor unit. This causes warm air to mix with cooler air, and that slows the cooling process. A good solution is to try leaving all your interior doors open to maximize airflow. If that isn’t an option, your air conditioning service may recommend adding more return ducts to your system.
We are happy to advise you on this or any other cooling questions. We provide AC repair to Spring Hill and the surrounding area.
Call us today at 352-436-1876 and save $35 with any paid repair!
What do you do when the air conditioning appliance that’s supposed to be keeping your house cool is full of hot air? Let’s face it: the last thing any of us want on a hot day is to walk out of the summer swelter and into an oven. Restoring that AC to its former glory is going to be a top priority.
Still, in Spring Hill, AC repair bills can be an unwanted expense. You want to make sure that you do everything you can to minimize the impact a broken air conditioner will have, not only on your thermostat, but on your wallet.
We’ll jump into Air Conditioning for Regular Folks for a moment here. This is because in order to understand the rest of this article, you’ll need a basic frame of reference. You can read up on heating and cooling in more detail elsewhere, but here are some basic principles:
Alright, so now that you’re an expert, let’s talk about some of the things you can do to check on your air conditioning system. We’ll go through this by symptom. Symptom 1 will cover what to do if your system won’t power on at all. If your system is powered on but blowing warmer air, skip directly to Symptom 2 below.
But before you do any of that, we have a very important disclaimer:
DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE!
Air conditioning units draw a fair amount of electrical energy, and they also contain capacitors, which can store that electricity. You want to be extraordinarily careful. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, the best course of action is to do nothing. Spring Hill AC repair technicians are always ready to come out and service your system.
Symptom 1: Your Air Conditioner Will Not Turn On
If your air conditioner isn’t turning on at all, there are some troubleshooting steps for you to follow. Now, if you’re ready to proceed, here’s are some things that could stop your unit from powering on:
1.Check and be sure that the unit isn’t powering on. This means check the indoor and outdoor units. If only one unit is experiencing issues, you have narrowed the problem down to that portion of your cooling system.
2.Check the breakers. This may seem like an obvious thing, but it’s a surprisingly common solution. Because residential central air conditioning systems draw a lot of power to cool the home, you may occasionally be dealing with something as common as a tripped breaker. Flip them back and see if solves your problem. If it does not, or if the breaker trips again, shut off power to your system and call contractors for a repair estimate.
3.Wiring Issues – Wires can loosen over time as they contract and expand with the changing temperatures. You shouldn’t attempt to repair these yourself, but it might just be possible to check for them.
4.Motor or compressor fault. If your compressor or motor aren’t functioning properly, the unit may not power on at all. If that is the case, you’re in for an expensive bill, or possibly a replacement. Avoid this problem by keeping your system clean!
5.Thermostat problems. Confirm that your thermostat is set to COOL and that the temperature is set below room temperature. If your unit isn’t turning on, your thermostat could be the problem. See if the AC unit will turn on manually. If it does, you’ll likely be replacing your thermostat.
6.Bad capacitor. A capacitor stores energy and turns your motor and compressor on. Think of them a little bit like a car battery – essential to function, but pretty simple to replace. A contractor can swap those out for you without great expense.
That covers some of the common reasons your air conditioning system isn’t turning on. What happens if it powers on just fine, but the air it’s blowing isn’t cold and refreshing?
Symptom 2: Your Air Conditioner Is Blowing Warm Air
If your system is turning on, but you are feeling warm air or no air coming out of your vents, you have different set of problems. Let’s go over what you might be dealing with:
1. Ice. This seems counterintuitive, but if ice builds up inside your system, it will blow warm air or no air. Ice will often collect on the condenser or evaporator coils, particularly if the system hasn’t been cleaned. The unit must be thawed before it will work properly.
2. Low refrigerant. Refrigerant is the key ingredient in the cooling apparatus, and it exists in a closed system. If that system develops a leak, your refrigerant levels will drop below the optimum, and your air conditioning system will work improperly, if at all. Refrigerant is a hazardous chemical, and requires a licensed professional to handle, but it’s a simple enough thing to find a leak, repair it, and charge your refrigerant.
3.Dirty filters or coils. This will lead directly to ice, our first problem. If your air filters aren’t cleaned regularly, they’ll stop allowing air to pass through, and cold air will build up in your system, icing over the coils and insulating them, which prevents them from cooling air in your home.
Other problems can assail your system as well, but for the most part, preventive maintenance on a regular basis is all it takes to keep your air conditioner running strong. We recommend an annual tune-up, and you should always have it checked at the beginning of the warm season.
Save $35 when you call for Spring Hill AC Repair at 352-570-1008
Few things are as frustrating as an air conditioner that keeps going belly-up.
Like a car that won’t start or a computer that won’t boot up, it’s the kind of thing that can leave you feeling helpless and angry. In hot climates like Spring Hill, AC repair usually can’t wait. Before you let the humidity and the heat put you or your loved ones at risk, reach out to the contractors or companies that service your system and solve the problem.
If your air conditioner breaks down repeatedly, there are a number of things that could be at fault. The most dangerous or irresponsible thing you can do is nothing. If you continue to run the system even if it’s performing oddly or periodically shutting down, you could be doing irreparable damage and setting yourself up for major financial woes.
So what can make an air conditioner break down frequently? Assuming you aren’t dealing with multiple separate issues – a real possibility – there are still a number of things to look at.
It could be the installer’s fault. Most contractors don’t want to tell you this, but it’s true. Anywhere you go, including here in Spring Hill, AC repair calls are often about a good contractor correcting a bad contractor’s mistake. An air conditioning system is very complex.
You’re dealing with two separate system components, dozens of connections, complex ductwork, and a hundred calibrations to make it work properly in your home. If the installer didn’t get all of those things just exactly right, you could see problems down the line. This is one compelling reason to do your research before choosing HVAC companies to work on your home air conditioning.
The problems could be caused by lack of simple maintenance. It’s shocking how often “out of sight, out of mind” comes back to bite homeowners. Preventive maintenance contracts aren’t a hustle; they are a necessity. Your air conditioning system needs an annual tune-up by a professional.
In between those visits, you should be cleaning your air filters on a monthly basis. Those visits will find problems that are harder to spot, like bad capacitors, wiring issues, or wear and tear on motors, compressors, and coils.
And speaking of preventive maintenance:
A clogged air filter or intake vent can shut the whole thing down. Most likely, you don’t really know what happens if you don’t clean your air filters and intake vents. The cold air being produced by the system can’t escape the vents to recirculate, and it begins to concentrate inside the system.
When that happens, the temperature inside the unit plummets. Meanwhile, your home isn’t getting cooled off properly. The dropping temperatures inside the unit freeze the coils, which insulates them and prevents the refrigerant from cooling the air at all. More often than not, at this point, the unit just shuts off to save the compressor from damage.
The system has to be turned off and thoroughly thawed, and all the filters and vents cleaned, before it will work properly again.
Size issues. In HVAC, when we talk about “sizing,” we mean the BTUs of the system. That’s a measurement of its cooling power. If your system wasn’t properly sized to your home, you could see shutdowns because it’s working too little or too much.
If the system is too large for your home, it will be short cycling too often – the stopping and starting of the motors and compressor is not good. On the other hand, if the system is too small, it will run almost constantly, which isn’t really any better. When you buy an air conditioner, demand a good home audit and proper sizing.
Overheating. Have you ever noticed that your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker? Most of the time, homeowners just flip it back on. This could be a mistake – air conditioners usually trip the breaker for a reason. Instead of flipping it back on and going about your day, you should call your AC repair guy and ask him to come out and take a look.
It might feel like an inconvenience, but the old adage about an ounce of prevention is true – it’s worth a pound of cure. In this case, that directly saves you money.
Thermostat issues. Sometimes your air conditioner isn’t the thing that’s broken. Sometimes – and usually this is a good thing, given the alternative – the thermostat is busted, and it isn’t communicating with your system properly, so it shuts off at unwanted times.
If you suspect this is the case, try turning the system on and controlling it manually, bypassing the thermostat entirely. Replacing your thermostat costs a lot less than replacing your whole system.
It’s too old! This is a really common one. Because central air conditioning is expensive, you want to get the most out of your system. You want it to run for as long as possible, and you want to put off the day when you have to replace it. But that day will eventually come, and if your repair bills are starting to crop up as commonly as your phone bill, you have a problem.
An air conditioner should run 12-15 years if it’s well taken care of – sometimes a bit less or a bit more. You don’t want to be caught off guard when the time comes to replace it. In a perfect world, you’ll replace it in the wintertime to take advantage of seasonal discounts.
If you need AC repair for your Spring Hill Fl home, save $35 when you call us today at 352-436-1876!