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Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970

Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970


Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning Blog

Why Is My AC Starting and Stopping So Frequently?

AC-tech-outdoorsSomehow the calendar is telling us that it is already mid-September, and it seems to be accurate. With the year going by so quickly, it is safe to say that the heating season will be upon us sooner than we know it. That being said, our air conditioners still have plenty of work to do before the cooler winter season takes some of the strain off of them. While we may be reaching the tail end of the hottest time of the year, it is important to remain vigilant when it comes to your AC.

Any problems that start to develop with your air conditioning system should be dealt with immediately. Don’t tell yourself that your system can limp along for the next month and a half or so. Instead, contact a member of our team to schedule professional air conditioning repairs in Visalia, CA. One issue that you may notice is an air conditioner that is still starting up, but running only briefly before shutting back down. 

It’s Called Short Cycling, and It Could Be a Serious Problem

This phenomenon has a name: short cycling! Basically, your air conditioner is supposed to be of the right size for your home, allowing it to run in full, consistent cooling cycles as it cools down your living space. Short cycling is what happens when, for any number of reasons, the air conditioner is not able to to do so. More on that in the next section. First, let’s talk about why short cycling is such a problem.

First of all, there is a financial impact. As you may know, it requires more energy to start up a system like an air conditioner than it does to keep it running at a regular rate. If your air conditioner is short cycling and starting up over and over again when it’s not actually necessary, then you are going to use more energy — energy that you must then pay for.

There is also a serious risk of damage to your air conditioning system. All of that starting and stopping is really going to put an excessive amount of wear and tear on your home cooling system. That itself increases the risk of damage, not to mention the effects that the underlying problem could be contributing to the degradation of your system.

So Why Is It Happening?

There are a number of potential reasons. In fact, one is hinted at above. If your air conditioner is not of the right size for your home, then it can lead to short cycling. Cooling down a home too quickly with an oversized AC may not sound like that big of a problem. However, it can cause short cycling, along with the subsequent damages/eventual breakdown, and that is a major issue. Unfortunately, there’s not “fixing” the system in this case. It will have to be replaced with a properly sized air conditioner.

It could also be something as simple as a dirty air filter. The air filter in any HVAC system must be of the right MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) for that system in order to prevent excessive airflow resistance. If a filter gets too dirty, it will create the same issues as an incompatible filter. When airflow is restricted, the compressor can overheat as it tries to cool the air passing over the evaporator coil. This can cause it to overheat, triggering the system to shut down as a means of protecting itself from damage.

Then, there is the refrigerant leak. Because it is the evaporation of refrigerant that allows your air conditioner to remove heat from the air moving through the system, low refrigerant levels are very problematic. Forcing an AC to continue running with a low refrigerant charge due to leaks can lead not only to issues like short cycling and the icing over of the evaporator coil, but also compressor failure over time.

Let Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning evaluate and repair your home cooling system. 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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