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Short-cycling is a common air conditioner term, but you may not understand what it means for your Dunedin, Florida, home, or what to do when you experience it. Learn more about what short-cycling is and what you can do to keep it from happening.

What Is Short-Cycling?

Air conditioners operate in cycles so they can maintain your desired temperature. As such, they switch off for a while and automatically turn back on when the temperature gets too warm. This is called a cycle, and it’s a normal occurrence for any air conditioner. What isn’t normal, however, or at least is a bad sign, is a phenomenon called short-cycling.

Short-cycling happens when the air conditioner frequently stops and starts. These fast, frequent cycles can happen for many reasons, but regardless of the cause, the result is that your system works harder and endures extra strain, leading to premature wear and tear.

Common Causes of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling can occur for any number of reasons, so it’s important to contact an HVAC technician as soon as you notice the problem. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Clogged air filters. When an air filter gets clogged, the system must work overtime to make up for less airflow, which puts more strain on your air conditioner. You can prevent this problem by changing your air filters every one to three months and by ensuring that other components, such as the compressor and blower motor, are free from debris and dust buildup.
  • Frozen evaporator coils. Did you know that ice can build up on your unit’s evaporator coils, even during a hot summer? It’s the evaporator coil’s job to absorb heat from the air. As a result, condensation naturally occurs and builds up in the coils. When something goes wrong, that condensation can freeze, icing the coils and causing the entire air conditioner to shut down. Before that happens, however, you might notice the unit short-cycling, which is an indication that you should check for ice.
  • Low refrigerant. Every air conditioner needs enough refrigerant to operate. Refrigerant is what cools the air and makes your home bearable in the Florida heat. Without enough of it, the system can start to short-cycle trying to keep up. The only solution to low refrigerant is to add more, so contact an HVAC professional right away. Failing to do so can cause undue stress on your air conditioner’s components, which can lead to a costlier breakdown. Your system does not run long enough to remove humidity also. The only solution to an improperly sized system is to have a new one installed that’s been properly sized for your home.

What to Do When Your System is Short-Cycling

Regardless of the reasons behind your air conditioner short-cycling, the best solution is to enlist the help of a professional. Before doing that, however, you can check your air filter to see if it’s clogged and, if so, clean or replace it to see if that helps. If not, you’re probably dealing with a bigger problem that only seasoned technicians can address.

The important thing to remember is to not put off calling your HVAC company when your system starts to short-cycle. The longer you put it off, the more strain your air conditioner must endure. This can result in more expensive problems that could require additional maintenance. If you think it’s necessary, turn off the system and use ceiling and portable fans until you can have it looked at.

If you suspect your unit is short-cycling, don’t wait. Call Advanced Cooling Systems at 866-827-7662 to schedule an air conditioning maintenance in your Florida home. We’ll uncover the problem and offer affordable solutions that will get your system back on track.

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