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Savannah, GA & Hilton Head, SC


Douglas, GA

Savannah, GA & Hilton Head, SC


Douglas, GA



AAction Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Blog

AC Short Cycling: What Does It Mean?

AC-in-grassSome problems with an air conditioning system leave you rushing to call in a technician ASAP, like when it only blows out warm air or when it’s completely broken down. Others are more subtle, like when the temperature only drops slightly. Today, we want to focus on an AC problem that often doesn’t set off any alarms.

Short cycling is when an air conditioner runs in brief spurts over and over. It may run for long enough to cool off the home—somewhat. However, it’s going to cause some major problems for your air conditioner.

Why It’s a Problem

Short cycling, for many homeowners, is more of an annoyance than a hindrance. It’s bothersome to have to listen to an air conditioner that turns on and off over and over again, and your home may never feel as cool as you’d like. That change in airflow may not mean so much to you, though, and it’s a bigger deal than you may think.

Short cycling tends to be a symptom of a larger problem. While there are lots of issues that can cause your air conditioner to short cycle, they all result in some major problems. Your AC system is supposed to run for a set time period. Running repeatedly at short lengths can…

  • Damage the components of your air conditioner.
  • Lead to a complete breakdown.
  • Raise your energy bills.

So what’s causing this annoyance that can wreak havoc on the system?

Option #1: A Clogged Filter

Yes, something as simple as a clogged air filter can do a lot of damage to your AC system. That’s because your air filter needs to let in a set amount of air in order for the AC to work properly. A layer of dirt and debris stops air from getting into the AC system which can interfere with its operation. That’s why it’s so important to change the filter once a month!

Option #2: Electrical Trouble

The next potential reason your air conditioner isn’t running properly has to do with the electrical components of your air conditioner—or even the electrical wiring in your home. The electrical components of your air conditioner are many: compressor, wiring, pumps, motors, capacitors, and more. Any of these could begin to fail and cause malfunctions like short cycling.

On the other hand, it could be that your home’s electrical system is not rated to handle this level of energy consumption. In that case, you may need to upgrade the circuit breaker panel or reconfigure the circuit breaker distribution.

Option #3: Improper Sizing

There are many reasons your air conditioner may short cycle. (This is not an exhaustive list.) However, this last one is probably one of the worst problems you can come across. If your air conditioner is not the right size for your home, it can run into a lot of problems, which is why we emphasize choosing a professional technician whenever you need AC installation.

An air conditioner that is too large for the space in your home may not run for a complete cycle (meaning it is not completely dehumidifying the home either). Starting and stopping over and over again really wears down the motor—more so than one that runs regularly and consistently—and your air conditioner may need replacement far sooner than expected.

Just call the friendly team at AAction Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Inc. for air conditioning repair in Bluffton, SC.

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