I’ve noticed a few things over the many years of working in HVAC. One of them is that in Orlando, AC repair is taken pretty seriously. That makes perfect sense, of course – you don’t want to get caught without a working system in a hot Orlando summer.
That’s why I like knowing that I’ve always got AC repair near me – and so do you, now that you’ve found us. If you’ve got troubles, drop us a line anytime.
A common source of concern for customers is something we call “short cycling;” it’s HVAC shorthand for when your air conditioner turns on and off too often. Of course, your central air conditioner will turn on and off for all sorts of reasons, some of them totally normal.
But when the compressor in your outside unit is kicking on and off every few minutes, something is wrong. You’ll also notice fluctuations in the temperature of your home if your system is short cycling.
So what causes short cycling?
There’s no single answer to that question. It really depends on your system. We’ll go over some of the most common causes of short cycling and see if one of them jumps out at you.
1. Thermostat placed incorrectly, poorly programmed or faulty. If you have a programmable thermostat, it is possible that incorrect settings can cause short cycling. Check to ensure that isn’t the case by resetting it, or by running your system in manual mode.
A thermostat can also be placed in the wrong location – if it’s near a vent that blows cold air, or near a window that gets direct sunlight, it will read colder or warmer temperatures than it should, and will make the compressor turn on and off improperly.
Relocating the thermostat will take care of that – ask your AC repair contractors to move it to an interior wall somewhere that represents the average temperature throughout the home.
Lastly, it is possible that your thermostat is faulty, and could be sending incorrect signals due to manufacturer error, wear and tear, or damage. Replacing the thermostat is your solution in that case.
2. Low refrigerant levels and leaks. If your thermostat isn’t the problem, it’s possible that your refrigerant levels are low. Your refrigerant levels should never change, unless there is a leak in your system. When there is a leak, it can cause a multitude of issues, one of which is short cycling.
Low refrigerant represents an immediate danger to your compressor. If you’re short cycling, you should power down your air conditioner and get a reputable Orlando AC repair technician in to give you a repair estimate as soon as possible.
3. Oversized system. Unfortunately, it is also possible that your air conditioner is simply the wrong size for your home. If you weren’t the one who purchased your air conditioner, you should have someone come in and do a load calculation on your home and determine whether am oversized unit has been installed.
Regrettably, in HVAC, bigger is definitely not better. When an air conditioner is too powerful, it will reach the set temperature too quickly, before it has time to dehumidify the air or reach peak efficiency. It will short cycle because even though it quickly cools, the poorly conditioned air and the short cooling cycle will cause temperature swings within your home.
If you do have an oversized system, you’ll need to look at options for replacement. Oversized air conditioners experience far more wear and tear than a properly sized unit due to the constant on and off cycling. They are very unlikely to last as long as advertised because of the added stress.
4. Electrical issues or control board issues. Your compressor turns on and off when it’s told to. That is done by way of electric signals. If you’re noticing short cycling occurring within your central air conditioning system, it’s possible that those signals are the problem.
There’s a fair amount of electrical wiring and a complex control board managing the cooling process. Loose wiring or a faulty control board will lead to short cycling when those signals aren’t being sent at the appropriate times or are being missed by the outdoor unit.
Most Orlando AC Repair contractors can take care of those for you – and inspecting them is part of a standard tune-up, so don’t forget to schedule those.
5. Air filters in need of cleaning or replacement. You simply cannot clean your air filters too often. I recommend at least once a month to our Orlando area customers. If you have furry pets, you could do it even more often than that.
When particles of dust, mold, or debris clog your air filter, the airflow through your air conditioner is choked off. That keeps the evaporator coil from doing its intended job – absorbing heat – and it begins to shut down early.
That leads directly to excessive cycling. If you’re finding it difficult to remember to clean or change your filters, set alarmed calendar reminders, or leave the new filters somewhere where you’re sure to see them and be reminded, such as a laundry room or pantry.
Short cycling is a serious problem. If you’re concerned enough to be on the Internet, typing in “AC Repair near me,” then you’re concerned enough to get proactive. An air conditioner is a complex system, and an efficient and tough one.
It doesn’t need nearly as much preventative care as an automobile to do its job – all you need to do is change the air filters and schedule 1-2 tune-ups a year, and it’s likely to keep humming along for ten or fifteen years without any major issues.
However, the moment you find yourself neglecting regular maintenance tasks on your system, AC repair issues begin to build. Small problems snowball into big problems. Short cycling doesn’t seem like much as it’s happening, but it stresses your compressor badly.
Your compressor is the mechanical heart of the operation, and without it, your entire air conditioning system is purely decorative. It’s also the part with the highest cost to replace.
Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.