When your air conditioner is working properly, it kicks on when the thermostat detects the temperature in your home is too high. It then runs for several minutes, before it kicks back off when the temperature in your home has lowered to the thermostat setting. A condition known as short cycling occurs when your air conditioner shuts itself down after it runs for just a few minutes, because it overheats. Since the temperature doesn't get low enough to satisfy the thermostat, your AC then kicks back on only to shut off again quickly. Here are a few reasons for this common air conditioner problem and repairs you might need.
The AC Is Dirty
One thing you can do before you call an AC service is to check the filter. If it's clogged with dust, change it and see if that fixes the problem. A clogged filter can reduce airflow, causing your AC to overheat and shut down. If changing the filter doesn't stop the short cycling, call an HVAC contractor like J C Heating & Cooling for help. The inside of the AC could be dusty and dirty. This can happen when you skip the annual maintenance call or get lax about changing the filter. When dust coats the coils, the refrigerant can't remove heat from your home very well, so your AC can overheat and shut off before your home gets cool.
The Refrigerant Is Leaking Out
Your AC can short cycle when the refrigerant leaks out, too. One sign this is happening is when the AC coils have frost on them. This affects the air conditioner the same way dust buildup does. The AC can overheat and shut down to protect itself. If a refrigerant leak is the cause of short cycling, the HVAC repair technician has to find the leak and repair it, so the refrigerant can be refilled.
Thermostat Wiring Problems
Electrical and wiring problems can cause an AC to short cycle as well. Loose wiring in the thermostat can cause the thermostat to malfunction and may turn the AC on and off erratically. The AC technician will probably check the electrical system of your HVAC and the control panel to look for problems that can be contributing to the trouble your AC is having.
These are some of the common reasons that an AC short cycles. There can be other things that go wrong, too, such as a compressor that overheats, a bad switch, or a compressor or air handler fan that doesn't run at top speed. Your technician may have to check several components of the air conditioner, find the bad part, and repair or replace it, for your AC to start working properly again.