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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

My AC Is Running in Short Bursts—Should I Be Concerned?

Yes, you absolutely should be. Your air conditioner runs in cycles, not continuously. That means that once the desired temperature is met the system will shut down, and will resume operation when the temperature dips below the target once more. However, the AC should not be cycling on an off very rapidly, especially if it is shutting down before the desired temperature is achieved.

This is called short-cycling, and it is a very real problem. As is so often the case with air conditioning system problems, there are a few different potential causes of the issue. Hiring a trained professional is the only way in which to determine with certainty why your air conditioner is shutting down prematurely.

Dirty Filters, Refrigerant Leaks, Thermostat Malfunctions, and More

When we say there are a number of different issues that could lead to short-cycling, we mean it. You could have a very dirty air filter that is restricting airflow in the system. That can inhibit the removal of heat from the air surrounding the evaporator coil, causing it to ice up. This can strain the compressor, leading it to overheat and the system to shut down.

Refrigerant leaks can have much the same effect, but must be professionally repaired and can cause serious system damages. Of course, your thermostat could also just be registering temperatures inaccurately, in which case re-calibrating or replacing it can resolve the problem. Your system could also just be too big for your home and its cooling demands, so temperatures are being brought down too rapidly, causing the system to short-cycle.

Why Is This a Problem?

Short-cycling can lead to a serious amount of wear and tear on your HVAC system. This increases the risk of damages, and can also result in a shortened lifespan. It also wastes a lot of energy, as starting up over and over requires much more electricity than running a full cycle. This can leave you paying much higher bills while experiencing a lesser cooling performance.

Contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. for any AC repairs or services that you may need in Capitol Hill.

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