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Should My AC Be Starting and Stopping So Frequently?

woman-with-fanIf your air conditioner is starting and stopping frequently enough that you’re asking yourself this question, then the answer is probably no. Now, you have to keep in mind the fact that your air conditioner should not be running constantly, either. ACs are designed to run in cycles, meaning that they should adjust temperatures, shut down, then start back up in relatively even and regular intervals. An AC that is running constantly is no better off than one that starts and stops very frequently.

When it comes to your air conditioning in O’Fallon, MO, you have to keep in mind that “good enough” is never really good enough when it comes to its performance! Truth be told, short cycling may not be indicative of a very serious air conditioning problem. At least, it may not start out that way. However, short cycling may also be caused by a very serious issue, and itself will damage the system if left alone long enough.

What Causes Short Cycling?

As we mentioned above, there are a few different reasons why short cycling may occur with your air conditioning system. It’s always a problem that you’ll want to resolve as soon as possible, but its solution may range from very simple to, well, very serious. The likely culprits are as follows:

  • A very dirty air filter. Believe it or not, a dirty filter can definitely be the cause of your system’s short cycling. How’s that? Well, a dirty filter can create so much airflow resistance that the system starts to overheat as it struggles to distribute conditioned air throughout your home. That can cause the system to overheat, and it may then cycle down prematurely as it tries to protect itself from damages.
  • A faulty run capacitor. Your air conditioner uses 2 different types of capacitors in its operation. The first is the start capacitor, which gives the system the extra boost necessary to get going. The second is the run capacitor, which helps to maintain the necessary power levels for running the system consistently. Should this capacitor fail, then the system itself may start to short cycle.
  • A refrigerant leak. This is the one that you really A. don’t want to encounter or B. want to recognize and resolve ASAP. If your refrigerant is low due to a leak, then short cycling is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of problems that you may encounter. You also risk damaging your system, potentially beyond the point where repairs are possible, if you continue to run it when it is leaking refrigerant.

Problems Caused by Short Cycling

Is it really that big of a deal? Even taking out the cause of your short cycling—yes. Short cycling can have a number of negative effects on your comfort, your system, and your budget. It puts a lot of stress on the system, greatly increasing the risk of damages and operational issues. It will drive up energy costs, as it costs more to start a system than it does to keep one running consistently. And it also leaves you paying more for less comfort! So yes, short cycling is absolutely a problem you want to resolve right away.

Schedule your AC services with Fresh Air Heating & Cooling.

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