Now Offering Plumbing Services! Read More

Skip navigation

Serving Belmont, Lake Norman, and Hickory, NC

Serving Belmont, Lake Norman, and Hickory, NC


Ace Hardware Home Services Blog

Everything to Know About Short Cycling

“Uh oh, looks like you’ve got a short cycling air conditioner! We might need to replace your system in its entirety, depending on the root cause.”

An HVAC professional might have just spoken those words to you, or perhaps you’re thinking through the situation in your head. You start frantically searching online about short cycling, what it means and why it occurs, and you get a whole host of blogs and articles that boggle your mind.

Where do you start? What’s the problem? And why are you getting this sinking feeling that this AC repair in Gastonia, NC will cost a lot of money?

Well, first of all, take a deep breath. Short cycling is a common problem with different root causes. Depending on the specific problem you’re encountering, the repair could be light or it could mean a system replacement is required. But first, let’s learn about what this is and how it happens.

What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when your air conditioner runs in short, frequent cycles instead of the normal cooling cycle. This might be a difference of 5-8 minutes, but it’s a big difference to the internal components of your system.

For instance, the start-up of your air conditioner is a lot more energy-intensive than it shutting down or just running longer. The more frequently the system starts up, the more energy it is consuming and the more stress it’s putting on certain components.

The Causes of Short Cycling

Here are just four common reasons why your AC might be short cycling.

  • A clogged air filter. A clogged air filter is going to stifle the system’s internal airways. This means that it could potentially overheat and shut down abruptly, even if it’s still trying to cool your home. A Try cleaning out the air filter and turning the system back on to see if the problem gets alleviated.
  • A refrigerant leak. Without the proper refrigerant charge, your air conditioner could stop abruptly before the cycle completes. This can usually be accompanied by “bubbling” or “hissing” noises which signify a refrigerant leak.
  • A frozen coil. If you’re suffering from a refrigerant leak or if your air filter is clogged, the system can start freezing up. Actual ice might form on your AC’s coils as a result. This can, in turn, cause your system to short cycle.
  • A botched installation. You might think that a bigger AC is better, but that’s not the case. A system that’s too large for a home will cool it down too quickly, essentially shutting down before the cooling cycle is complete. This is considered short cycling, and the best way to deal with it is a full system replacement.

Professional Diagnosis Is Required

Don’t try to fix this problem or even diagnose it on your own. All you need to do is detect when you think your system is short cycling, and schedule a repair appointment with a trained professional. An HVAC tech like someone on our team can diagnose the problem properly and with precision.

Schedule a diagnosis appointment with Ace Hardware Home Services, a subsidiary of Unique Indoor Air Comfort. Call Ace Hardware Home Services!

Comments are closed.