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Cooling Sarasota & Manatee Counties since 1970

Cooling Sarasota & Manatee Counties Since 1970


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Jim McDonald & Sons Blog

What Is Short Cycling?

Your home or business doesn’t feel quite as comfortable as it usually does. You check the AC unit and notice it keeps turning on, whirring, and shutting off without achieving the desired indoor air temperature.

Air conditioner with tool bag on top.

This is referred to as short cycling. Spoiler alert: it’s not good for your AC unit. If you believe your air conditioning unit is short cycling, you should turn it off before continuing. This is what you need to know.

It’s a Short Refrigerant Cycle

Your AC has refrigerant inside of it. When your unit detects heat indoors above your set temperature preferences, it runs that refrigerant through the condenser and other areas of the AC unit. This is a refrigerant cycle, and it lasts for around 10 minutes on average.

That sound you hear when the AC turns on is the compressor kicking in. It’s supposed to run, help the unit to provide cold air to your home, and turn back off after the cycle is complete. If it turns on and off in a shorter amount of time, your AC could be short cycling.

If it turns on and off more than it’s supposed to in an hour, the compressor is working overtime. This adds wear and tear to the compressor.

Reasons Your Air Conditioner Short Cycles

There are a few reasons your air conditioner could be short cycling. While some of these are easy to diagnose visually, others require specialized equipment to figure out.

  • Low refrigerant pressure levels cause your compressor to turn off prematurely.
  • Visible ice buildup on the outside of your AC unit.
  • Low-pressure control switch malfunctions.
  • Damaged compressor.

How long has your AC been short cycling? Some of these issues can be avoided with preventative measures.

How to Prevent Short Cycling

Fortunately, you can do a lot to prevent short cycling in the first place with simple maintenance. Here’s what you can do.

  • Clean or replace your air filter. A lack of proper air intake could cause ice buildup and eventual motor burnout.
  • Inspect your AC refrigerant levels. If you’re confident to diagnose this on your own, ensure the levels are where they should be. Refer to your air conditioner manual for manufacturer information.
  • Move your thermostat. If the air intake vent is too close to the thermostat, it could be confusing the readings. If possible, move your thermostat to a new location.

If further damage has occurred and it’s not a simple fix, it’s time to call a repair technician to further assess and repair the problem.

AC Installation and Repair Since 1970

We offer AC repair in Sarasota, FL with financing options available to help you make smart, informed purchase decisions without finances getting in the way. Your AC could be short cycling and prone to further damage. Let us help so you don’t have to risk your comfort.

Contact us today to install, repair, or provide maintenance on your AC unit.

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