During the hottest days in Boca Raton, you can expect your
air conditioning system to run for long stretches. We recommend putting the
thermostat at as high a setting as feels comfortable in your house (78°F is a
good target) so it won’t have to undergo excess strain. But on those extremely hot
days the high setting will keep the AC running and running until—well, until it
cools down outside.
During milder warm days, the AC won’t need to run as often.
Instead, you’ll hear the compressor kick on and then run for 15 minutes or more
until the thermostat detects it’s reached the desired temperature. The AC will
then cycle-down the compressor and remain off until needed again.
But if you’ve noticed the air conditioning turning off after
less than ten minutes, then starting up again soon after, you have a short-cycling
Is short-cycling a bad thing?
Yes. It’s both a symptom of an AC problem and an AC problem
- It’s a huge waste of energy. An AC consumes the
largest amount of electricity when it starts up because it has to overcome
resistance to start all the motors. When the compressor re-starts multiple
times an hour, utility bills will skyrocket.
- It puts extra mechanical strain on the AC components.
The compressor is the heart of an air conditioner, and if it fails it usually
means the whole system must be replaced. Short-cycling forces the compressor to
wear down much faster than normal.
- It doesn’t allow the AC enough time to send cooled
air throughout the house. This results in hot spots and generally uneven
Why is it happening?
There are several sources for short-cycling. Most require an
HVAC technician to fix them.
- The AC is losing its refrigerant charge. The
refrigerant in the system should remain at the same level for the life of the
air conditioner, but leaks can allow it to escape. This puts the whole air
conditioner in jeopardy of failing, and short-cycling is one of the warnings
that it’s happening.
- The thermostats are miscalibrated. If the thermostats
are sensing incorrect temperatures, they’ll shut the compressor off too soon.
- The air filter on the HVAC cabinet is clogged.
The restriction this places on the blower fan can cause the AC to overheat and
shut down. This is a problem you can usually fix on your own by changing the
filter for a clean one.
- The evaporator coil is frozen. This prevents the
air conditioner from absorbing indoor heat and stopping it from properly
cooling the house.
- The air conditioner is too large. If amateurs
installed your air conditioner, they may have put in one that’s too powerful
for your home. The AC will cool down the space so rapidly that the system will
shut off prematurely. Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is to put in a
new, properly sized, air conditioner.
The Coral Springs, FL HVAC company you can trust to find out why your AC is short-cycling is First Response. We have 24-hour emergency service to help you!
First Response Air Conditioning & Refrigeration—We have the coolest customers in town! Call us for AC repair.