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Why Does My AC Turn On and Off?

woman-with-fanWe know what you’re thinking after reading the title of this post. Why shouldn’t my air conditioner turn on and off? It’s not supposed to run all of the time, is it? Of course, your air conditioner is not supposed to run constantly throughout the day, every day. However, it should be running in full, even cycles. It is when your air conditioner is starting up, running only briefly, and then shutting back down that you have cause for concern.

This situation is what we in the industry call “short-cycling,” and it is actually a fairly serious problem. Or, we should say, it can be a fairly serious problem. Like so many other air conditioning issues, there are a number of different reasons why your air conditioner in Acworth, GA may start to short-cycle. Not all of them are very serious, and some can be rectified without the intervention of professional technicians. Some can do real damage, however, so determining what is causing your AC to short-cycle is important.

Is Your System too Large?

This question catches homeowners off-guard sometimes. For many, that an undersized air conditioner is no good is fairly obvious. What some fail to realize, however, is the fact that an oversized air conditioner is no better. While cooling your home too quickly really may not sound like a problem, it does interfere with the system’s cooling cycles.

When a system is too big, it adjusts temperatures so quickly that it cycles down sooner than it should. Then it has to start up again too quickly. Then it shuts down again. This places a lot of strain on the system and, because starting up uses more energy than just running, drives up cooling costs. Replacing your system with an appropriately sized model may be necessary if it has always short-cycled.

Is Your Filter Dirty?

Has your air conditioner run just fine in the past, but is now starting to short-cycle? If this is the case, then the size of the system cannot be to blame. One item to check is the air filter. Typically, the air filter standard to HVAC systems will have to be changed every 1–3 months. There are a number of factors that can influence this, of course, but this is a good general rule.

If your air filter is very dirty, then it can restrict airflow through the air conditioner to the point that it begins to overheat. When that happens, the system will cycle down in an attempt at self-preservation. If this is your problem, then you need only be more diligent in changing the air filter regularly.

Is It a Refrigerant Leak?

We’ve saved the worst for last this time around. Refrigerant leaks are serious trouble, as air conditioners are designed to work with a specific amount of refrigerant. If your system is low on refrigerant, which is not consumed by the AC but rather recycled over and over, then you probably have a leak.

When there is an insufficient amount of refrigerant in an AC, it will struggle to remove heat from the air passing over the evaporator coil successfully. It can overheat, and over time low refrigerant levels can lead to serious damages. Eventually, compressor failure is possible.

Schedule any necessary AC repairs with Moody Heating and Air Conditioning.

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