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Carolina Climate Control Blog

Why Your Air Conditioning System Keeps Stopping and Starting So Often


Have you noticed that your air conditioning system seems to be turning on and off frequently, almost in rapid succession? This phenomenon is known as short cycling, and it can indicate several underlying issues that need attention. Let’s dive into why your air conditioning system might be short-cycling and how to avoid major AC repair in Mt. Pleasant, SC. 

What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling is when your air conditioning system turns on and off more frequently than usual. Instead of running in longer cycles to cool your home efficiently, it starts and stops in quick succession. This can lead to increased wear and tear on the system, higher energy bills, and reduced comfort indoors.

Common Causes of Short Cycling:

Clogged Air Filters

  • A clogged or dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of short cycling. When the filter is clogged, airflow is restricted, causing the system to overheat and shut off prematurely. Regularly changing or cleaning your air filters can help prevent this issue.

Thermostat Problems

  • A malfunctioning thermostat can also contribute to short cycling. If the thermostat is not accurately sensing the temperature or is located in a poorly ventilated area, it may signal the system to turn on and off too frequently. Ensure that your thermostat is calibrated correctly and placed away from heat sources or drafts.

Poor Installation Quality

  • Improper air conditioning system installation, including undersized ductwork or incorrect refrigerant levels, can lead to short cycling. To avoid such issues, it’s crucial to hire a qualified HVAC technician for the installation and regular maintenance of your system.

Leaking Refrigerant

  • Low refrigerant levels due to leaks can cause the system to short cycle as it struggles to maintain the desired temperature. If you notice hissing sounds, ice buildup on the refrigerant lines, or reduced cooling performance, contact a professional to inspect and repair any refrigerant leaks.

What to Do When Your Air Conditioning Starts Short Cycling:

If you suspect that your air conditioning system is short-cycling, here are some steps you can take:

  • Start by regularly checking and replacing (or cleaning, if reusable) your air filters, ideally every 1-3 months, depending on usage. This simple maintenance task can improve airflow and prevent short cycling caused by clogged filters.
  • Verify that your thermostat is set correctly and functioning properly. If you notice any issues with temperature accuracy or frequent cycling, consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat for better control and energy efficiency.
  • Schedule a comprehensive maintenance service with a licensed HVAC technician. They can inspect your system, identify any underlying issues contributing to short cycling, and perform necessary repairs or adjustments.
  • If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact a professional HVAC technician. They will locate and repair the leak, recharge the refrigerant to the correct levels, and ensure optimal system performance.
  • If your air conditioning system is relatively new and experiencing short cycling, consider having the installation quality assessed by a qualified technician. They can check for any installation errors or deficiencies that may be causing the issue.

Addressing these common causes of short cycling and taking proactive steps to maintain your air conditioning system will guarantee a more comfortable living environment. Short cycling is a common condition for HVAC systems and is one of the more obvious signs of an HVAC problem. Don’t put off having your system inspected.

Contact Carolina Climate Control to schedule AC repair in Mt. Pleasant, SC. The Moose Is Loose in Your Neighborhood! 

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