Regardless of its cause, short cycling poses a serious problem for your cooling system. Whenever your air conditioner runs in brief spurts, it drives up energy bills and lays the groundwork for early system failure. There are two reasons that systems will run in short cycles: It’s either too large for your home and cools it down quickly or it has one of several mechanical problems that prevent it from completing a full cycle.
If your HVAC system runs for less than nine minutes each time it turns on and then starts running again after a brief period, it’s probably oversized. Frequent starts increase energy consumption and wear on all the parts. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to make an oversized air conditioner run in the longer cycles that use less energy and provide better comfort.
- Dirty air filter. A dirty air filter reduces the air flow going into the air handler that will cause the blower motor and some of the electronic components inside the air handler to overheat. A safety switch will shut the system off before the parts are irreparably harmed. Changing the air filter and cleaning the blower motor should restore the system.
- Too little refrigerant. Whether it’s caused by an installation miscalculation or a leak in the evaporator or condenser coil, too little refrigerant in the system will make the air conditioner or heat pump short cycle. The only way to check the level is to call your HVAC technician who will test its pressure.
- Frozen evaporator coil. The evaporator coil sits inside the air handler and can freeze over if it’s overly dusty or covered with mold or a biofilm. It will also freeze from a dirty filter or too little refrigerant. If you can access the coil, clean it gently to remove the coating.
If your air conditioner starts short cycling suddenly, it’s time to call Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company for an inspection and resolution. We provide trusted HVAC services for Yuma-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.