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50+ Years of Serving
The Shreveport Area

50+ Years of Serving The Shreveport Area


Moon's Air Blog

Short-Cycling: The Stop-and-Start AC Problem and What It Means


Today we’re going to discuss one of the most common air conditioning troubles: short-cycling. This is both an AC malfunction and a symptom of other malfunctions. It often requires the expertise of professionals to provide the AC repair in Shreveport, LA to diagnose the underlying issue and solve the problem. 

First, we have to talk about what short-cycling is so you can recognize it.

The Basics of Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is when an air conditioning system begins to run in abbreviated cooling cycles that happen rapidly, one after the other. Standard AC operation has the cooling system run in cycles that last 15 minutes or more: this is the amount of time necessary to start up the compressor, circulate refrigerant, and lower the indoor temperature to the target on the thermostat. On hotter days, the cycle length will increase, but it shouldn’t be shorter than 15 minutes.

When short-cycling, an AC will often run in cycles less than 10 minutes long and restart soon after finishing the shortened cycled. This fast on-off pattern will alert you to the problem. If you think your AC is turning on more than usual, it’s probably short-cycling.

The Problem With Short-Cycling

Before we consider what might cause short-cycling to happen, we need to explain that short-cycling all on its own is a major problem. An AC isn’t designed to have this must stress placed on it from constant starts and stops. It’s much the same with a car engine. The strain from short-cycling can lead to repairs and an early system replacement because of a worn-down compressor. Short-cycling will also run up higher energy bills because the compressor draws on the most power during start-up.

The Causes of Short Cycling

Short-cycling can damage your air conditioning system, but the source of the problem may be even worse. Here are a few of the reasons for short-cycling to start.

  • The air filter is clogged. This is a basic fix: put in a new filter. 
  • The refrigerant lines have developed leaks. This will eventually lead to the compressor burning out and needing to replace the entire air conditioning system.
  • A thermostat has malfunctioned. It’s reading incorrect temperatures and shutting the AC off too early. 
  • The air ducts have leaks in them, allowing cool air to escape. 
  • The air conditioning system is too large for the house, cooling it down so fast that it prematurely shuts off. This can happen because of an amateur installation, and the only solution is to replace the system. 

Solving Short-Cycling

This is the easy part! Once you’ve determined you have a short-cycling air conditioning system—and it’s not due to a clogged filter—call on our technicians. We’ll examine your HVAC system and locate the source of the problem. Then we’ll find the best way to resolve it, whether it’s sealing ducts, recalibrating thermostats, sealing leaks and recharging refrigerant, or arranging for a replacement. You can count on us for the exact service you need.

Moon’s Air has provided whole-home comfort since 1971. Call us for service today—it’s good to be Mooned!

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