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Is AC Short Cycling Dangerous?

Many homeowners who have an air conditioner that’s short cycling want to know one thing: Is AC short cycling dangerous? We understand why this can be concerning. An AC that seems to be running all day and turns itself on and off repeatedly can definitely come across as having something major wrong with it! 

Although AC short cycling isn’t inherently dangerous, it is incredibly hard on your system.  Not only does short cycling result in your home never cooling down properly, but it also causes enormous wear and tear. Here’s what causes short cycling and why it’s so bad for air conditioners.

What Is Short Cycling?

As we alluded to above, short cycling occurs when your AC turns on, runs for 5-10 minutes, and then turns itself off. It keeps repeating this process throughout the day and night. Because the system is unable to complete a cooling cycle, it keeps attempting to do so. However, it’ll never be able to reach the set temperature on your thermostat. Short cycling is indeed a vicious cycle that needs immediate attention. 

Why Is Short Cycling Harmful to My System?

Short cycling causes immense wear and tear on your air conditioner. That’s because the start-up phase requires the most energy, and its ability to start is dependent on the compressor. 

Because short cycling causes the compressor to constantly start up and shut down more than it needs to, it drains the power unnecessarily. All of this wear and tear on the compressor can cause the system to overheat and burn out. The cost to replace the compressor is so high that it often makes more financial sense to just replace the entire system altogether.

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Short Cycle?

There are many possible causes for a short cycling AC. Here are some of the most common ones.

Clogged Air Filter

The air filter has a huge role in your AC’s ability to do its job. This filter keeps dirt, dust, and debris out of your AC’s internal working parts. When the filter is clogged, not only is the airflow restricted, but the AC’s interior parts become clogged with dirt. A dirty air filter can lead to short cycling when heat can’t escape the system and cool air can’t get in. This “tricks” the system into thinking it’s hotter inside your home than it actually is. 

Refrigerant Leaks

When it comes to how an air conditioner works, refrigerant is the main ingredient responsible for its functionality. It cycles through the AC system, removes heat from inside the house, and releases it outdoors. Sometimes refrigerant can leak out of the system through holes. Without enough refrigerant, the system struggles to perform, which can lead to short cycling.

Failing Compressor

Refrigerant leaks can also cause problems with the compressor. When refrigerant levels are low, the system is unable to efficiently absorb and transfer heat in and out of the home. This can cause the compressor to overheat and begin to short cycle. 

Don’t let the weather get you down, call Brown’s! Brown’s Heating & Cooling is your trusted resource for quality air conditioning repairs. Contact us today!

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