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Serving Panama City, FL

Serving Panama City, FL


Parker Services Inc Blog

Watch Out for Short-Cycling, A Common Air Conditioning Problem


If you have a quality air conditioning system that received a professional installation, you probably won’t run into any serious malfunctions with it for its first several years. Keeping up with regular maintenance will reduce the chance of malfunctions even further.

However, there are some AC problems that can crop up even in the best cared-for systems. One of the most common is known as short-cycling, which is both a problem in itself and a symptom of other kinds of malfunctions. 

The Basics of Short-Cycling

An air conditioner is said to be short-cycling when it turns on and off rapidly over a short period of time. The standard cooling cycle for an air conditioner lasts for around 15 minutes and sometimes longer; it depends on how much heat it needs to pump out of the house to cool it to the target temperature on the thermostat.

The AC cycles down and shuts off the compressor at the end of the cycle, although the fan may continue to run for a time after that. On a hot day, an air conditioner may go through four cycles in an hour.

When an air conditioner is short-cycling, it will run for abbreviated cycles of ten minutes or less with little time between cycles. An air conditioner that goes through eight cycles in an hour is definitely short-cycling. 

The Problem With Short-Cycling

An air conditioner that is short-cycling will cause several problems:

  • Energy drain: An AC uses the most power at start-up as it draws on extra voltage to activate the compressor. If the AC is turning on numerous times an hour, it will make the AC cost much more to run.
  • Extra wear and tear: Constantly stopping and starting places more strain on an air conditioner, leading to more repairs and a shortened system life. 
  • Uneven cooling: The shortened cooling cycles don’t allow enough time for the conditioned air from the AC to reach throughout the house, leaving hot spots.

The Causes of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling on its own is already trouble. But the cause of the short-cycling is often the biggest problem. This is why you’ll need experts to examine your AC when it’s short-cycling. They’ll diagnose the underlying malfunction so it can be corrected. Here are some of the more common causes of short-cycling:

  • Low refrigerant levels because of leaks
  • A clogged air filter
  • Leaking air ducts
  • A miscalibrated or broken thermostat
  • Blocked air vents
  • Dirty evaporator or condenser coils
  • An air conditioner that’s too large
  • An air conditioner that’s too old

Depending on the cause, the solution may be as simple as changing the air filter or as complex as replacing the entire air conditioner. In most cases, a targeted repair will restore the AC back to running in normal cycles.

When you have a short-cycling air conditioner, make the right call and reach out to our technicians for air conditioning repair in Panama City, FL.

Reach out to us when you need great air conditioning services in Panama City. At ​​Parker Services, Inc, Comfort’s just a call away! 

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