When a standard air conditioner is working properly, it should run cooling cycles that last roughly 15 to 20 minutes and may run two or three cycles per hour. However, you may notice your system cycling more frequently, a phenomenon known as short cycling. Consider five problems caused by frequent AC cycling along with some steps you can take to easily prevent this in your home.

1. Skyrocketing Energy Bills

It’s easy to understand that the longer your air conditioner runs, the more energy it will consume. However, it uses the most when it first starts up, so increasing the number of times your system starts exponentially increases the amount of energy it uses.

Furthermore, starting also exerts the most strain the system experiences during the cooling cycle. Increasing the number of starts increases the strain, and this will increase wear and tear. As components wear, they stop operating optimally, and in some cases consume more power than normal. All this combined will drive up your energy consumption.

2. More Air Conditioning Repairs

Repairs happen as air conditioners age because components experience wear and tear. The excess wear your system experiences as it cycles frequently will accelerate how quickly and how often your system needs repairs. This can range in severity from minor repairs like replacing the compressor capacitor to major repairs like replacing the compressor itself.

3. Shorter Service Life

Because short cycling puts so much wear and tear on the system, it will not last as long. The longer you allow this problem to continue, the likelihood of a premature system replacement increases considerably.

4. Home Never Reaching Desired Temperature

Your air conditioner must circulate treated air throughout your home to cool your home properly, and it must produce enough cool air to effectively alter the indoor temperature. When your system is frequently starting, it fails to produce enough cool air and doesn’t effectively move it around your home. The result is that you end up paying more for your system to run without ever getting the relief you’re hoping to receive.

5. Humidity Problems

When your AC short cycles, it cannot run long enough to dehumidify the air in your home, and this will lead to higher humidity levels. This can make your home feel uncomfortable and can promote mold growth.

Preventing Short Cycling

Fortunately, short cycling is something you can usually prevent by giving your HVAC system the appropriate attention. Use these tips to ensure that your system cycles for the appropriate length of time and performs its job properly.

Change Your Air Filter

Your air filter is the first line of defense against contaminants that will clog the system, restricting its airflow. Restricted airflow causes the system to get too cold and short cycle.

Check your filter monthly so that you can determine when it is dirty enough to warrant a replacement. If you have a 1- or 2-inch filter, plan to change it every 30 to 90 days. Of course, the frequency of changes depends on its construction and the amount of people and pets who live in your household.

Keep Your Vents Clear

In addition to your air filter, the system vents are also critical to maintaining the airflow around your home. Obstructing them can contribute to short cycling. Keep all your vents open, even in spaces that you don’t use frequently. Additionally, maintain the proper clearance above and around each vent, with six inches commonly recommended for supply vents. You may need more for the return vents, depending on the size of each of them. Check with a trusted HVAC technician to confirm the appropriate return vent clearance for your system.

Get Routine Maintenance

Finally, routine maintenance aims to maintain the efficiency of your system and ensures its longevity. Part of the maintenance routine is testing the system, checking its refrigerant charge and looking for any components that may be having trouble. This helps catch small issues before they can cause problems like short cycling.

For more than 15 years, property owners around Fort Mill, SC have turned to Arce Heating & AC to keep their air conditioners running effectively. Our team provides heating and AC maintenance, repair and installation along with indoor air quality solutions, including duct cleaning. Call to schedule an AC repair or maintenance visit with one of our experienced technicians today.

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