The Problem with Short Cycling

At Maki Heating and Air Conditioning we regularly receive panicked calls from new customers in the Sacramento Area whose air conditioners are on the fritz on scorching hot days. The summers in Northern California are so hot, that having your air conditioner system stop working properly is indeed a reason for alarm. It’s essential to have regular air conditioner service scheduled. Whether it be general check-ups, cleanings, or maintenance on your hvac system, you want it in excellent working order before the hot weather arrives. If at any time an emergency should occur, we are happy to send an ac repairman to address the problem immediately. 

While there are many signs your air conditioner is struggling to cool your home and may need a repair, short cycling is one of the most common warning signs. It’s important to know what it is and why it’s dangerous so that we can perform an HVAC tune up before the problem gets worse and hopefully help you get more life out of your current system.

What is Short Cycling?

Short cycling is exactly what it sounds like. It is the industry term for when an air conditioner turns on and off in short cycles in repeated intervals throughout the day. While you may notice your hvac unit doing this and simply assume it’s working hard to cool your home, the problem actually arises because it’s working too hard.

 On average, an air conditioning unit should turn on and run for a maximum of approximately 15 minutes to cool the air in your home. During this cycle, the system  draws hot air in from the outdoors, cools it with refrigerant, and then releases that cool air into your home. If something is wrong with your air conditioner, that process can be interrupted, and the entire unit can shut off early. Because it didn’t complete the entire cooling cycle, it then must kick on sooner, and these short cycles repeat, wasting energy (and money) and failing to cool your home efficiently. 

Not only is short cycling an issue because it disrupts your comfort and drives your energy bills through the roof, but it can also cause further damage to your hvac system which could then lead to costly repairs, or if it has gone on long enough, an entirely new hvac unit.

Common Reasons for Short Cycling

In order to find out why your unit is short cycling a thorough inspection of your system is needed. We can send an ac repairman in Sacramento out promptly to determine the issue if you give us a call at (530) 855-3449. The most common problems that cause short cycling in hvac units are:

  • An issue with your thermostat which is causing temperature miscalculation.
  • A unit that is either too large or too small for your home causing disruption and shut off of the system.
  • A leak in the line that carries the refrigerant liquid.
  • Poor airflow due to dirty ducts or a dusty filter which can lead to increased heat and extra stress on the system. Cleaning ac ducts yourself and replacing the filters can sometimes fix this issue.
  • An electrical issue such as an overload on the circuit the air conditioner runs on.

Call the Pros!

Our certified HVAC technicians at Maki Heating and Air Conditioning can determine the reason your air conditioner is experiencing short cycling and can also diagnose and repair other common HVAC unit problems. Keeping your home cool and you comfortable this summer is our number one priority, and you can call us anytime at (530) 885-3449. We can provide diagnostic testing for ac units experiencing problems, an annual HVAC inspection, a duct clean, filter replacement, along with a wide variety of heat and air conditioning service or general maintenance on your unit.

We pride ourselves on being the very best Sacramento HVAC repair company and providing prompt and friendly service, expert technical knowledge, and affordable rates that beat other local ac companies. Give us a call today and allow us to impress you with our superior service!


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