AC Short-Cycling: What It Is, Why You Want It Repaired | Peak Home Performance
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Short-cycling is a common problem that affects air conditioning systems and heat pumps, although homeowners may not know what it is or how to identify that it’s happening. Our team offers high-quality air conditioning repair in Castle Rock, CO to correct short-cycling, and we want customers like you to know more about this problem and why you need to call us to have it repaired as soon as possible.

The Basics of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is when an AC or heat pump becomes trapped in an abbreviated start-up cycle. A refrigerant-based system like an air conditioner operates in cooling cycles when the compressor turns on and begins the process of heat exchange that removes heat from the indoor air and sends it into the ventilation system. A cooling cycle lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. This is how long it takes for an air conditioner that’s properly sized for a home to reach the target temperature on the thermostat.

An air conditioner short-cycles when it cuts off the cooling cycle early, only to start up again a short time later. Rather than going through 15 to 20-minute cycles with around 10 minutes intervals between, the AC will turn on and off rapidly in a short time, often repeating the process four times in an hour. If you notice your air conditioner or heat pump doing this, you may need professional repairs to help to stop it.

Why Short-Cycling Is a Problem

It might not sound like short-cycling is that bad. The AC is still cooling, isn’t it? But short-cycling is a major problem because it…

  • …drains extra power and raises energy bills because the compressor consumes the most electricity at start-up.
  • …places excessive strain on the air conditioner, leading to parts failing quickly and the system requiring an early replacement.
  • …doesn’t allow the cooling cycle to continue long enough to evenly distribute cooling throughout the house.

This isn’t the worst of it, however. Most of the time, short-cycling is only a symptom of an underlying malfunction. The AC might be sending out a warning something else is wrong. It could be a simple problem like a clogged air filter, in which case you only need to put in a new one. However, the cause of the short-cycling could be something much larger:

  • The air conditioner is too big for the house. This often happens when amateurs install an AC. The only solution to an oversized system is to have it replaced.
  • The air conditioner is leaking refrigerant.
  • The outside coils are dirty and need professional cleaning.
  • The ventilation system has duct leaks.
  • The compressor is dying.
  • The thermostat is miscalibrated or has faulty connections.
  • The air conditioner is too old and close to breaking down.

You can trust the Peak Home Performance team to diagnose the source of your short-cycling air conditioning system or heat pump. We’ll apply the correct remedy to solve the problem, and we won’t high-pressure you into any service or product you don’t need. We will get the job done quickly and reliably at an affordable cost to you.

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