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Serving Chesapeake and The Greater Hampton Roads Area

Serving Chesapeake and The Greater Hampton Roads Area

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AC FAQ: What’s Short Cycling?


It’s not a joke, that’s for sure! Short cycling is most often a symptom of a pretty bad problem with your air conditioner that should be addressed as soon as possible. Just like a rash or fever could be a pretty awful symptom of illness within your body, short cycling could be your air conditioner’s way of telling you it’s not functioning as well as it should be.

Before we discuss what could be causing this symptom, we should be clear that diagnosing a problem with your air conditioner is no simple task. It’s always a better idea to contact one of our trusted technicians for any questions related to air conditioning in Chesapeake, VA since untrained hands can often cause more problems than they solve!

With that being said… what is short cycling?

Timely Schedule

Your air conditioner should never cycle late nor early—it should function precisely when you need it. These are wise words to remember, because they’re true! Your central air unit does not turn on more frequently when it is humid or hotter out. An air conditioning system is designed to start up in relation to the thermostat setting on a timely cycle. Short cycling is a term that described when your air conditioner begins to run more frequently than it should, because of some other problem.

What Causes Short Cycling?

This is where we recommend a trained technician inspect your system, since it could be a multitude of different problems affecting the system’s functionality..

  • Incorrectly Sized AC. Bigger is better, right? Absolutely not. An incorrectly sized air conditioner, whether too large or too small for your home, will begin to cause serious problems in the future.
  • Dirty Air filter. This is a common problem. If your air filter is dirty, your AC unit is going to have trouble pushing air through the unit, forcing it to work harder and short cycle.
  • Refrigerant Leak. Is your AC making “hissing” or “bubbling” noises while it runs? It could be leaking refrigerant, which can be majorly harmful to the environment, your home comfort, and your wallet.
  • Miscalibrated Thermostat. Your AC system functions based on what the thermostat tells it. Your thermostat could trick your thermostat into short cycling.
  • Age. Air conditioners have a lifespan of 10-15 years. If your 20-year-old air conditioner is short cycling, it could be a sign that it’s on its way out.

So What?

Let me guess, your air conditioner is short cycling and you’ve just read about how bad it can be. There’s just one slight problem. Your air conditioner still works, right? Why fix what’s not broken?

While, yes, your air conditioner could still be functioning while it’s short cycling. The problem could also be an expensive one to fix, which makes diagnosing it even more necessary. However, the longer your HVAC goes experiencing short cycling, the more extensive the damage could be until you’ve got no choice but to buy a brand new one. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Contact House Call Company and see how we can make you smile.

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