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Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970

Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970


Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning Blog

What Causes an AC to Short Cycle?

man-air-filterNo rest for the wicked, they say, but the same could apply to our air conditioners here in California. Now, the idea of a hot and sunny climate year round is one that those of us living here in California know to be a falsehood. We do have pretty mild winters, though, and our air conditioners have a lot of work to do during our long, hot summer seasons. That is why any sign of trouble with your home cooling system should definitely be taken seriously.

If your air conditioner is short cycling — meaning that it is starting up, but running only briefly before shutting back down — then you very well may need professional air conditioning repair in Fresno, CA. However, it is also possible that there is a very simple solution to the problem. In today’s post, we are going to fill you in on what could be behind your air conditioner’s atypical operation. Short cycling can cause serious problems, so keep this info in mind.

Faulty Capacitors

Modern air conditioning systems may use a few different types of capacitors. The run capacitor is used to maintain a charge, whereas a start capacitor is used to provide some extra oomph in order to get your system up and running. If your system is starting up, but fails to run in full cycles, it is possible that you have a faulty start capacitor in the system. This is not a terribly serious problem, but it is one that you’ll want to hire a professional to resolve.

Dirty Filter

Yes, that’s right. Among the many problems that a dirty air filter could lead to is an air conditioner that short cycles. How could this be the case? Well, your air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in the evaporator coil in order to remove heat from the air passing over it. If the filter is very dirty, it reduces airflow. That alone can cause the system to work so hard in its efforts to cool your home that it can overheat. The system may then cycle down in an effort to protect itself from damage.

Frozen Coil

If the filter is dirty enough, it can reduce airflow to the point that the evaporator coil actually gets way too cold. When that happens, the condensation on the coil can freeze, creating a layer of ice. This frozen barrier further insulates the coil, exacerbating the problem further. Unfortunately, this is not the only reason why your coil may freeze.

Refrigerant Leak

This brings us to the big one — a refrigerant leak. If there is not the right amount of refrigerant in your air conditioning system, then it is not going to be able to remove heat from the air successfully. The compressor can strain itself to meet the desired temperatures, and the system will shut down to prevent it from becoming damaged. Even so, running an AC with low refrigerant can definitely lead to operational problems.

Short cycling itself increases wear and tear on the system, while also increasing energy consumption and the associated costs. A problem like a refrigerant leak can eventually lead to complete system failure. Don’t let short cycling with your AC go unresolved. Give Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning a call, instead.

We strive to provide honest answers and solutions to the problems our customers experience while remaining highly competitive in price, and offer the fastest turnaround you can find!

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