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Short-Cycling: What It Means and How to Avoid It

Short-cycling seems to be a problem that’s a little too complex for the average homeowner, but common enough to still cause headaches. For something with such a simple name, it can really be one of the worst things to find out about. If a professional tells you that your air conditioner is short-cycling, or you hear the dreaded frequent cycles for yourself, then it can be hard not to panic.

But the first thing we’ll tell you is not to panic. We take care of everyone’s central air conditioning in Deptford Township, so short-cycling isn’t exactly a problem we’re unfamiliar with.

Stay tuned as we go into detail about this problem. We’ll talk about signs to notice, problems that come with short-cycling, and more importantly—what you can do to fix it. Don’t neglect your air conditioner or pretend it’s not cycling abnormally, make sure you call us today.

How It Works

Imagine it’s a hot day and your air conditioner is working as hard as it can to keep your home comfortable. You hear the clicking noise, the cycling of the system getting started, and feel the cool breeze of air coming from your air vents. Then all of the sudden, your AC shuts off abruptly after only a couple minutes of working. Regardless of whether or not your home is now comfortably cool, that’s not very good for your air conditioner.

AC systems require a full cycle in order to work effectively and efficiently. What we really mean is, your AC should run for a cycle that lasts longer than just a few minutes. Otherwise, it’s putting stress on certain components of the system, consuming more energy than it needs to, and it will frequently cycle.

What Causes Short Cycling?

There are two major problems that contribute to short-cycling, but it can occur in many ways. These two issues are just some of the most common reasons we encounter short-cycling air conditioners. But you’re going to need a trained and licensed professional to examine your system and get to the bottom of why it’s short cycling in the first place.

Refrigerant Leak

If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, it’s going to have a much harder time keeping your home comfortable. It’s going to cycle the remaining refrigerant faster, causing short, frequent cycles that are energy inefficient. Luckily, refrigerant leaks are a quick and easy fix for a professional, as long as the issue is caught and resolved soon.

Incorrect Load Calculation

When you purchase an air conditioner, there’s a process called “load calculation,” where it’s sized according to the air volume load it will be cooling. If this process is poorly executed or skipped entirely, it will lead to you having a system that’s not properly sized to your home. This is one of the most insidious contributors to short-cycling.

An air conditioner that’s too small will continuously run but be unable to cool your home properly. An AC that’s too large will cool your home down too quickly, shutting down before a full cycle has been completed. Basically, this can be remedied by investing in professional replacement services to get your home equipped with an AC that’s sized correctly.

SPS Mechanical Inc. has your back. Call us for help with your struggling AC. Comfort at your service.

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