October 1, 2022


AC Short Cycling in St. Louis, MO

Potential Reasons Your AC Unit Is Short Cycling

A short cycling air conditioner can quickly lower your indoor comfort and skyrocket your energy costs. Short cycling issues can occur at any time but are more likely during the hottest summer months when you’re frequently using your air conditioning. Ensuring your AC unit is functioning efficiently protects your family and your future budget. Here are a few reasons your AC unit may be short cycling.

Understanding AC Unit Short Cycling

Most modern AC units run for about 20-minute cycles. This allows them to efficiently cool your home without excessive system strain or energy use. If you notice your air conditioner is turning off before the temperature in the home has changed, it’s likely short cycling. This issue can be caused by a variety of internal problems that will worsen over time if not corrected. You’ll quickly struggle to maintain your indoor comfort and temperature control. Issues with your AC unit may also impact the system’s lifespan, leading to a premature replacement.

It’s essential to determine what’s causing the issue before the damage spreads and impacts other areas of your HVAC system. These are the most common AC unit issues that can cause short cycling.

Incorrect AC Unit Size

If you’ve recently installed a new AC unit and are already noticing short cycling, the unit may be too big for your home. More powerful HVAC systems can quickly cool an area, which leads to overall shorter cycles. While this may seem beneficial to your indoor comfort, these systems actually require much more energy than a properly sized unit.

Installing an AC unit that’s too big will also impact your ductwork, making it hard for air to efficiently travel through the home. Your ducts may develop air leaks or pressure imbalances. Always trust an experienced HVAC technician to professionally evaluate your home and find the right size AC unit for your premises.

Dirty or Obstructed Evaporator Coils

Your AC unit’s evaporator coils are responsible for removing hot air from the home. If they become dirty or ice over, your AC unit will have to work harder to cool the area. Evaporator coil issues usually manifest as short cycling, leaking refrigerant, and warm air coming from the vents. Compromised evaporator coils can cause overheating and sudden system shutdowns. When vital components of your AC unit break down, you risk severe damage developing in the system.

You’re more likely to struggle with dirty evaporator coils if you neglect regular system maintenance. Annual care allows a technician to open up your unit and clean away any debris. They’ll also spot any potential leaks or damage that might impact the system’s efficiency.

Low Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant in your AC unit helps to absorb and move hot air from the home. The refrigerant absorbs the heat and sends it outside the house. Your AC unit needs enough refrigerant to constantly repeat this process every time it cools the home. A refrigerant line leak can increase your monthly utility bills and lead to ice building up inside your unit. You can often identify a leak by checking around your AC unit or listening for a hissing noise.

Call the professionals at your local HVAC company for repair immediately if you believe your system is leaking refrigerant. Depending on the age of your air conditioner, its refrigerant can be toxic and harmful to both your family and the environment. Too little refrigerant will also often directly lead to costly compressor damage.

Misplaced Thermostat

Thermostats should be installed in a central room of the house away from any direct sunlight or vents. Your thermostat needs to be able to accurately read your home’s temperature and kick on your HVAC system when needed. Outside forces like being too close to a window or the kitchen will impact its readings. If the device is placed in a warm area, your AC unit will turn on more frequently during the day.

Direct sunlight on the thermostat can even cause short cycling as your thermostat struggles to read the temperature. This will make certain areas of your home colder than others. It will also boost your bills and put additional strain on your air conditioner.

Improper Home Maintenance

Regular home maintenance during the year is the best way to preserve and protect your AC unit. Clean away debris and vegetation from the outdoor unit at least once a year. Avoid straining your system by keeping your settings at a moderate temperature. Keep an eye out for signs of animal nests, odd noises or leaks.

It’s also vital to regularly take care of your HVAC filters. Leaving a dirty filter in place for too long impacts airflow into the unit. Your system will have to work harder to compensate, overheating vital parts like the compressor and blower. Choosing the right filters and switching them out regularly is one of the easiest ways to protect your comfort and energy bills.

Old AC Unit

Older AC units often have to deal with aging and damaged parts that have lowered the system’s efficiency. Vital components like the compressor can become outdated or damaged, leading to short cycles and tripped circuit breakers. Your HVAC technician will be able to determine if the compressor can be replaced or if you should consider installing a whole new AC unit. Investing in a new HVAC system is often the better option when considering your family’s comfort and convenience.

Protecting Your AC Unit

The key to minimizing short cycling is prevention and professional maintenance. Do your part by keeping a watchful eye on your unit during the year. Look out for any signs of small system changes that may precede a drop in airflow. You should also schedule routine maintenance with your local HVAC company.

Many AC unit issues can be prevented by relying on an industry expert. They’ll be able to check your refrigerant levels and ensure no ice is accumulating on your evaporator coils. HVAC system repairs and maintenance can only be safely completed by a trained and experienced professional.

Trust Your Local HVAC Company

Count on the HVAC technicians at Scott-Lee Heating Company to service your AC unit in or near St. Louis, MO. Founded back in 1978, we’ve worked for years to refine our heating and cooling services. We’re a local, veteran-owned company that has won the exceptional Dave Lennox Award 26 times. Our team offers quality commercial and residential services at a fair price. We even guarantee service within 24 hours of your call. Our efficient and well-trained technicians are dedicated to maximizing your comfort and safety.

Allow us to maintain and repair your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. We can also replace your old HVAC system and provide a new energy-efficient model that saves you money. Our technicians have the training to handle indoor air quality solutions, zoning systems, and metalworks projects like metal roofs and flashing. We also offer free estimates for commercial heating and cooling services. Our team has decades of experience and reviews backing up our stellar service. Call Scott-Lee Heating Company today to schedule an appointment or sign up for our convenient maintenance agreement.