Why Is My Air Conditioner Turning On and Off Frequently?

Adjusting Thermostat

If you’ve noticed your central air conditioner turning on and off more frequently than usual—a problem known as short cycling—it can be a source of frustration and concern. Not only does short cycling strain your AC unit, but it also increases your energy bills and reduces the comfort of your home.

The cooling pros at Central Heating Cooling Plumbing Electrical in Kalispell have put together is list of potential causes and solutions, along with advice on when to call a professional for AC service.

Common Causes of AC Short Cycling

1. Thermostat Issues

If your thermostat is located where it can be influenced by direct sunlight, drafts, or heat sources, it may incorrectly read the room temperature, leading to frequent cycling.

The solution is to move the thermostat to a more suitable location or replace it if it is malfunctioning.

See related: Where to Put Your Smart Thermostat Sensors

2. Oversized Central AC Unit

An oversized AC can cool your home too quickly, leading to short and frequent cycles that don’t properly dehumidify the air.

Consult with a professional to discuss possible adjustments or the need for a correctly sized replacement.

3. Dirty Air Filter:

A clogged air filter restricts airflow, causing the unit to overheat and shut down prematurely.

Check and replace your air filters regularly, or when they appear excessively dirty. typically every 30-90 days.

4. Low Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant is another factor that can cause the AC to struggle in maintaining the set temperature, leading to short cycling.

Have a professional HVAC technician check for leaks and recharge the refrigerant.

See related:

5. Electrical Issues

Problems with the electrical connections or faulty wiring can interrupt the power to your AC unit intermittently.

Have a qualified electrician check the electrical connections to ensure they are secure and working safely.

6. Faulty Compressor

A failing compressor will struggle to maintain the pressure needed for proper operation, causing short cycles.

Compressors should be checked by a skilled HVAC technician. If leaks are found, have the unit replaced.

7. Iced Over Evaporator Coils:

When coils freeze, the AC will shut off to allow them to defrost, interrupting regular cooling cycles.

Check the outdoor unit for ice accumulation. If icing is found, check for adequate airflow and refrigerant levels; professional service may be necessary.

See related: Cleaning AC Coils

When to Call a Professional for AC Service

While some solutions like replacing a dirty filter or moving a thermostat are simple DIY tasks, many causes of short cycling require professional assessment and intervention. Here’s when you should consider calling an expert:

Persistent Short Cycling
If the basic fixes don’t stop the frequent on and off, it’s time to call a technician. If possible, turn the air conditioner off until the unit is inspected to prevent damage and wear and tear.

Electrical Concerns
Electrical issues are not only tricky but also hazardous to address without proper training.

Refrigerant Leaks
Handling refrigerant requires certification due to its potentially harmful effects on health and the environment.

Compressor Problems
Due to its complexity and the importance of correct installation, compressor repair or replacement should be handled by professionals.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to keeping your AC running smoothly and efficiently.

At Central Heating Cooling Plumbing Electrical, we understand how vital a smoothly operating AC system is to your comfort and peace of mind. For over 30 years we have been helping homeowners in Kalispell Montana stay comfortable all year round.

Our team of NATE certified HVAC professionals is ready to diagnose and address any issues, ensuring your home stays cool and comfortable. Don’t let a malfunctioning air conditioner disrupt your comfort—contact us today for top-notch service in the Flathead Valley.

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