If your air conditioner is switching on and off more than usual, it is important you get it fixed as soon as possible. An AC unit repeatedly switching on and off will raise your monthly bill, cause extra wear and tear on the unit itself, shorten the lifespan of the unit and create the need for more repairs.
Fortunately, the cause of a short-cycling AC unit is often a quick fix. Below are the most common reasons your air conditioner constantly turns on and off, a few of which you can check and even fix yourself. When in doubt, call a professional!
1. Thermostat Problems
One of the most common culprits to a short-cycling AC unit is a faulty thermostat. Your thermostat is in charge of telling your air conditioner when to run, so if your AC unit is turning on and off more than usual, always check the thermostat first. The issue could be electrical, meaning the thermostat is wired improperly or needs new batteries. It could also be due to poor thermostat placement. Your thermostat should be placed somewhere where it will get the best possible temperature reading. If it is near a window, warm room, or air vent, the thermostat is receiving an inaccurate reading.
2. Dirty Filter
Another common culprit with a simple fix is a dirty filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow which makes the AC unit work harder to reach your desired temperature. This can cause the unit to freeze-up or overheat and shut off prematurely. Make sure you change your filter as often as the AC unit manufacturer recommends. A dirty filter causes many more problems than this one!
3. Frozen Coils
If your evaporator coils are caked in dirt and debris or you have a refrigerant leak, your coils will freeze-up and cause the AC unit to shut off. Oftentimes, the AC unit will sporadically turn on and off as it attempts to regulate the pressure and reach your desired temperature. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, shut off the unit and call for a repair immediately.
4. An Oversized AC Unit
Many are surprised to learn that a larger-than-necessary air conditioner is not what you want. If your unit is too large for your square footage and climate, it will unevenly cool your home and turn on and off too frequently. A short-cycling unit uses more energy, will require more repairs, and will have a shorter lifespan, all of which cost you more money.
If you aren’t sure why your AC is repeatedly turning on and off, always call a professional. This short-cycling is causing unnecessary wear and tear on the unit, and it could be the result of something more serious like an electrical problem.