Short Cycling: What's Behind The Problem?

2 October 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Does your air conditioning seem to power off just as quick as it powers on? If this on and off cycle seems to go on and on, you're dealing with a problem known as short cycling. Identifying the problem is one thing. Understanding why it's happening is something entirely different. Discover some common issues that often lead to this problem.


Air conditioning size should not be based on the level of coolness you want to achieve. The size of a unit is based on the structure of the home and its size. Short cycling occurs when a homeowner has a unit that is too large for the demands of their home. 

As the oversized unit blasts cool air through the house, the reading on the thermostat quickly reaches the desired temperature, which shuts the system off. Only a few moments later, the temperature on the thermostat increases, and the unit powers back on. A technician should check a system working in this manner and resize it accordingly. 


When the air from outside passes through your air conditioning's intake valve, it first passes over the condenser coils. The condenser coils remove the moisture from the air and cool it at the same time. The refrigerant powers the condenser coils. When the refrigerant is low, the entire cooling process is thrown off. 

As a result, the unit must work harder to cool the air. The problem this shortcoming creates is that the harder the air conditioning works, the more energy it uses, which in turn causes it to overheat. As part of a built-in protection mechanism, the unit will power off as soon as it overheats and then will power back on. Short cycling due to low refrigerant is typically a problem that is easy to address by a technician.  

Air Filter

The primary role of the air filter is to remove particles and debris from the air. However, the air filter also plays an essential role in the overall function of an air conditioning. An air filter ensures that there is a proper amount of air flow through the unit. However, when the screen is clogged with debris, air flow is restricted. 

When airflow is limited, the air conditioning senses the reduction and uses the information as a signal to work harder, which in turn causes the system to overheat. Similar to refrigerant issues, the system will power off to avoid damage and then turn back on. Regularly cleaning or replacing the filter can help you avoid a similar concern. 

Contact an air conditioning technician from a company like Plisko Service Solutions if your unit is short cycling. The faster you can resolve the problem, the more money you'll save.