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Watch Out for Short Cycling in Your Air Conditioner

Monday, April 30th, 2018 at 11:00 am

short-cycling-ACSpring is here, and summer won’t be far behind. Here in the Phoenix area, that means triple-digit temperatures and homes in desperate need of cooling. Your air conditioner will be called upon to work for days on end to keep the heat from creeping into your home.

In light of that, now is the time to pay close attention to the way your air conditioner runs, and to call for a repair service in the event you spot anything out of the ordinary. Generally speaking, anything out of the ordinary should be cause for concern, but in particular, watch for the appearance of short cycling: turning on and off again far more frequently than it should. It doesn’t sound like a huge issue, but in fact, it can be devastating.

What Happens with Short Cycling?

Short cycling takes place whenever your air conditioner runs for only a few minutes at a clip. It may shut down before it has properly cooled the home, or it may shut down after cooling the house super quickly. Either way, it’s a serious problem.

Why? Because air conditioners use far more energy turning on and turning off than they do simply running. It takes much more power to get things like the fan motor up to speed, or slow them down and turn them off again, than they need to simply run. Ideally, your air conditioner should run for at least 15 minutes at a time in order to make the best use of the energy it consumes.

Otherwise, it not only wastes a tremendous amount of energy – driving your monthly bills up without providing any additional benefits – but the added strain can increase the chances of a more serious breakdown dramatically. Over time, it might even shorten the overall lifespan of the unit. If you detect short cycling in your air conditioner, you need to get it addressed as quickly as possible.

What Causes It?

Short cycling can be caused by one than one factor, which is part of why you should never attempt to formally diagnose such a problem on your own. It takes formal licensing and training to solve such a problem, largely because of the skill required to handle such a complicated piece of equipment. (In addition, air conditioners contain potentially dangerous components such as refrigerant that only professionals can handle safely.)

So what does cause short cycling? In some cases, it can be a problem with the electrical power: causing it to turn on and turn off due to intermittent energy. Short cycling can also be caused by a malfunctioning component, which may overheat and activate the system’s safety features, only to turn the AC back on again when the problematic component cools off. And sometimes, the air conditioner is simply too powerful for the space it needs to cool. Unfortunately, in those cases, the entire system needs to be replaced in order to fix the problem.

For air conditioning repairs throughout the Phoenix, AZ area, call Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating today!

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