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Why Is My Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

woman-on-couch-with-fanNot sure what we mean by “short cycling?” Well, short cycling is a very common problem that homeowners encounter with their air conditioning in Fort Wayne, IN, and the fact that you don’t know it by name does not mean that you’ve never dealt with—or are not currently dealing with—the problem! Short cycling is one of those issues that actually is quite serious, but which doesn’t result in the immediate breakdown of HVAC equipment.

Given the opportunity, however, short cycling can definitely wind up damaging your air conditioner system or heater—perhaps even irrevocably. So keep the following information in mind, and be sure to let a member of our team know if you’re concerned about short cycling with your air conditioner. The issue may actually have a very simple fix, but it could also be quite serious. That means that you need to take short cycling seriously every time, and not just hope for the best.

Short Cycling: What’s That?

If you find yourself asking this question, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Short cycling isn’t a phrase that is necessarily in everyone’s vocabulary. Basically, short cycling just means that your air conditioner is not running in full cycles. It’s starting up, running only briefly, and then cycling back down.

Wait, that’s it? What’s the big—

We’re getting there. Sure, short cycling does not sound like that big of a problem. However, you need to consider the consequences that short cycling can have on your system very carefully. It will negatively affect your air conditioner (or your heater) in a number of ways.

  • Reduced energy efficiency. If your system is forced to start up over and over again due to short cycling, then you’d better believe that you’re going to see all of that wasted energy reflected in your energy costs.  Remember, it takes more energy to get a system up and running than it does to keep a system running.
  • Increased wear and tear. The wear and tear that you put on your HVAC system is not something that you can get around. Running this system will take a toll on the system, which is why scheduling routine AC maintenance is so important. However, running a short cycling air conditioner is going to take a toll much faster, and much harder.
  • Decreased comfort.  What’s worse than paying more to cool your home, even as your air conditioner faces excessive wear and tear? Doing so with subpar cooling results! And if your air conditioning system is short cycling, you better believe that you are not going to be as comfortable as you’d be if your system were in prime working condition.

What’s the Cure?

It depends upon the cause. It may be something as simple as a very dirty air filter, which you can replace on your own. If the filter is so dirty, it can actually cause the system to overheat, and that system may then cycle down to protect itself from damages.

However, you could also be dealing with something as serious as a refrigerant leak. This can cause coils to freeze over, resulting in difficulty in effectively transferring heat. That can lead to overheating as well, and running a system that is low on refrigerant can cause the compressor to seize up, potentially leaving you needing a brand new air conditioner entirely.

Schedule your AC services with Collier’s Comfort. True Comfort, True Savings.

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