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!
Spring has sprung here in Spring Hill – AC repair calls aren’t far behind. Spring in Florida feels an awful lot like summer for the rest of the country. It could be the worst time of year to feel like something is wrong with your air conditioner, with a humid summer looming before you.
If you’re noticing that your air conditioning system never seems to shut off then you’re right to be worried.
One of the things that you’re sure to notice is a high electric bill. That’s a direct byproduct of a system running inefficiently and a confirmation that something is amiss. Cycling on and off constantly is sometimes even worse than running constantly, as an air conditioner isn’t running at peak efficiency until it’s been on for a while.
It’s quite likely that there is a problem, and your AC should get prompt attention.
So how does a homeowner troubleshoot the issue? Here are 7 things a Spring Hill air conditioning system could be suffering from:
1. Clogged air filters. When the air filter is dirty, your air conditioner can’t run properly. When airflow is restricted, all sorts of other problems are created, but the most obvious is that cold air can’t escape the system into your home and your thermostat therefore reads a temperature warmer than the setting.
Less obviously, the air flowing over the coils is restricted, which prevents the system from dehumidifying and cooling it properly, which also makes your system keep trying. Your air filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly, sometimes more often, as the manufacturer suggests.
If you have pets or dust issues, buildup will occur more quickly, and you’ll experience these problems more often. Try not to forget – we recommend keeping your replacement filters visible, or making calendar appointments in your phone to remind yourself when it’s time to act.
2. Improper filters. New air filters should be purchased based on professional recommendation. It is possible that you’ve switched air filters recently, and if so, you may have inadvertently selected an air filter that restricts airflow.
This is most commonly the case when you switch to air filters that advertise themselves as allergen or pollen removers. These filters are more restrictive than filters with lower MERV values, and could interfere with an air conditioning system not designed for them.
You could try switching back to the manufacturer recommended filters and keep an eye on the problem to see if it goes away.
3. Low refrigerant. If you’re noticing a theme, it’s that many small issues can make your system work harder than it needs to in order to cool your rooms to the desired temperature. Refrigerant is the X factor in your system, the thing that makes it all possible.
Refrigerant typically doesn’t need to be replaced, as it’s in a closed system, but over time, leaks can develop. If your system is low on refrigerant, there is unfortunately nothing you, the homeowner, can do about it. A professional Spring Hill AC repair technician will be required to find and repair the leak, and charge your refrigerant levels back to the correct value.
4. Thermostat issues. We see this most commonly with older thermostats, but it can happen with any system. If your thermostat is not working, as it should be, it won’t know to tell your system to turn off.
Check the temperature readout on your thermostat – if it’s below the temperature you set the system to reach, there is a problem. You may need to have someone replace your thermostat. On the bright side, this is one of the less expensive problems you can run into, and one of the easiest to fix.
5. Poorly insulated, leaky, or compromised ducts. In older homes, aging ductwork can be a problem even (or especially) with new systems. Insulation can deteriorate over time, joint seals can loosen, and other things can occur that can cause cool air to escape into unwanted spaces.
Your high electric bill could be paying to cool your attic or crawl space instead of your living room and bedrooms. Unless your ductwork is exposed and the problem is obvious, ductwork issues are hard for people without HVAC training to diagnose, unfortunately.
However, Spring Hill air conditioning professionals are always on standby.
6. Dirty evaporator coils. An annual tune-up is critical to your air conditioner system’s health. If you neglected to have a technician come through and give your system the yearly sprucing, your evaporator coils could be coated with dust and dirt, which makes your unit – you guessed it – work too hard.
Even if it’s only been a few months, this is a common enough issue that it’s often the first thing HVAC techs look for. Dirt and dust building up in your system can also cause the evaporator coils to freeze.
7. Incorrectly sized unit. Unfortunately, it is always possible that the system your home uses for cooling is a poor fit. This could be because your system was installed before you bought the home, or because renovations or additions have changed your home’s cooling needs.
In either case, a poorly sized unit will work too hard, and you’ll need an AC repair contractor to come in, do a load calculation, and determine the most cost-effective method of restoring air balance to your home.
We stress often to our customers that regular maintenance can easily prevent most of the problems on this list from occurring, and a tune-up or service call can quickly and efficiently repair most of them.
The biggest mistake is often waiting to make the call. HVAC problems aren’t going to go away based on hopes, and you may cause yourself bigger headaches by waiting. In Spring Hill, AC repair is never more than a phone call away.
If you think you may need AC repair call us today and save $35 with any paid repair 352-436-1876!