Ever wonder why your AC only works for a short time and then switches off again? Monitor it carefully because it might be AC short cycling. A common AC issue, short cycling often serves as a symptom of an underlying concern. Or it could also be the cause of the problem itself. Because of its impact on the AC system as a whole, it’s relevant to get help from experts like AHWA, which can provide professional HVAC assistance.
While short cycling needs immediate action, it pays off to be knowledgeable of the main causes and key solutions beforehand. So, here’s everything you need to know about AC-short cycling to keep you well-informed about this typical AC problem.
What is AC Short Cycling?
Short cycling is referred to as the occurrence when the heat pump system gets stuck in the initial phase. It can also happen with dMVHR system. As a result, it turns on and then turns off faster than normal, hence not completing the whole cooling cycle. A full AC rotation kicks off with the usage of refrigerant, which acts as a key element that absorbs heat indoors to bring it outdoors. The refrigerant goes through the compressor to undergo compression and circulating. It then passes through the condenser and other key parts to complete the entire cycle.
In general, the AC system undergoes three cooling cycles that last for about 10 minutes each. In sync with this, the compressor runs for 10 minutes, then halts for 10 minutes. After which, the pattern repeats twice within an hour.
If your AC is short cycling, the cooling cycle is hugely affected. Instead of the usual 10 minutes, it is much shorter. This causes the compressor to shut down more often than usual. Not only does this use the coolant inefficiently, but excessive starting and stopping of the compressor can lead to AC wear in the long run. So, maintaining your air conditioner is very important.
What Causes an AC to Short Cycle?
Air conditioners undergo short cycling because of several factors. Here are some of the usual reasons:
- You have the wrong air conditioner size – Size is an essential aspect when it comes to choosing an AC. While it appears that a bigger AC provides more cooling, this isn’t widely accepted in the HVAC scope of concepts. In fact, this is one of the most common AC misconceptions that needed to be addressed accordingly.
If your AC is too big for your space, there’s a great possibility that the target temperature will overshoot because of too much cool air. An oversized AC tends to cycle off, then cycle again when the area heats up. Therefore, you need to take into account the size before picking an AC. Choose a unit that is proportioned to the square footage of the area.
- Your AC does not have enough refrigerant – A vital component in the AC system, refrigerant acts as the key feature of the thermodynamic heat pump cycle. This chemical compound navigates in a closed loop to absorb the heat energy from the indoors. Afterwhich, it carries the heat energy to the condenser unit to release the heat outdoors. This cycle is widely known as the refrigerant cycle, and it can’t function properly without enough refrigerant.
Hence, if your AC lacks refrigerant, it could not complete the entire cycle, causing the AC to short cycle. If this happens, the AC system is affected because the unit attempts to reach the normal temperature despite insufficient refrigerant levels. Generally, insufficient refrigerant usually becomes an issue in the event of a leak.
So, it’s important to initially identify the major cause of the leak before adding refrigerant. More so, this should be done by a professional because refrigerant itself can be toxic.
- Your evaporator coils have iced up – Frozen evaporator coils can be another reason for short cycling. This often occurs when you turn on the AC while it is very chilly outside. The outdoor temperature has a great impact on the refrigerant cycle; thus, it’s advisable to keep an eye on the weather outside, especially at night.
If your AC shorts cycle because of this, shut down the AC unit and make sure to completely thaw the ice before turning on it again. Other possible reasons for the evaporator coils to freeze are dirty filters and mechanical problems.
- Your AC has wiring and electrical problems – AC short cycling may also happen if there are issues with the AC’s electrical system. A low-pressure control switch and damaged connections are two of the main known mechanical issues. Old wirings and heat pump power outages may also result in short cycling which may need to be checked by a heat pump installation Port Coquitlam service technician.
Because of these electrical problems, the refrigerant cycle can’t be fully completed, which results in the constant on-and-off state of the unit. In many cases, it’s best to get help from professionals when it comes to mechanical issues to avoid further damage and costs so you stay cool without racking up a bill.
What Happens to the AC System during Short Cycling?
Short cycling can take a significant toll on the AC’s overall health. Because of the continuous on-and-off activities of the AC, it affects the compressor, condenser, and other key parts of the AC system. If this problem persists, it doesn’t take long for the AC to lose its power and eventually become defective.
An outlying effect of short cycling can be an increase in your electric bill. With the compressor stuck on an inefficient cooling cycle, this draws more energy but produces less cooling. And if this isn’t addressed properly, your cooling costs can be affected as well.
How to Stop the AC from Short Cycling?
Short cycling is indeed a troublesome issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. It should be remedied to avoid untimely replacement of the compressor, which is very expensive. In addition, solving the issue as fast as you can saves you money and possible risks of bigger damages―like needing a complete replacement of the unit.
Now that you have an in-depth grasp of short cycling, this helps you address the problem immediately when it occurs. If this is happening for the first time, make sure to closely observe the unit. Keep track of the AC activities to protect it from unnecessary wear and tear, and if short cycling continues, don’t think twice and get help from HVAC experts.