What Is Short-Cycling?


There are a few terms that we think it’s important for homeowners to remember when it comes to HVAC. Things like “refrigerant” and “efficiency” are really important, and you’ll want a good grasp on those terms if you’re going to be a good air conditioner owner for the foreseeable future. However, many homeowners don’t know about the term “short-cycling” and what it means.

Today, we’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the term “short-cycling,” its definition, and why it’s important for homeowners to know about it. When or if your air conditioner starts short-cycling, you’ll want to have a team of professionals on hand to fix it because it can’t be repaired by anyone. This is a serious concern and it’s going to bring you a lot of trouble if you don’t call for professional AC repair in Algonquin, IL.

So, let’s take a deep dive into the world of short-cycling and figure out what you can do when you encounter it.

Short-Cycling, a Definition

First, in order to treat the problem, we need to explain what it is. Short-cycling is a term we use to describe an air conditioner or a heat pump that’s running in short, frequent cycles. You’ll notice this as a difference from the usual normal cycles, since they happen multiple times in a single hour of a day, accompanied by frequent clicking noises and an increase in your energy bills.

This problem occurs as the result of a variety of problems. Here are just a few causes of short-cycling so you can start investigating how it began.

  • A refrigerant leak. If an air conditioner starts leaking refrigerant, it’s going to have trouble producing enough cool air with one cooling cycle. Thus, as expected, it’s going to run more frequent cycles to keep up with your cooling demand until it starts to wear down.
  • A clogged air filter. An air conditioner requires constant fresh airflow through the return air duct. If the air filter is clogged, the system will start overheating and abruptly shut down during cooling cycles.
  • Incorrect system sizing. An air conditioner that’s too large for a home will run in short, frequent bursts, since any normal-sized cycles will cool your home too quickly.

Fixing the Problem

This is where things can be a little problematic. Your air conditioner won’t last long with a short-cycling problem, which means you need to address the issue ASAP. Luckily, you can start with the air filter. If the filter is clogged, try cleaning and replacing it yourself to see if that makes any difference. If it does, then you’re good to go. Just remember to do this every 1–3 months to avoid this problem in the future.

If the problem is leaking refrigerant, then you’ll need a professional to patch the leak and recharge the system with the proper amount of refrigerant. This can just be a repair call.

If your system is incorrectly sized, the only long-term solution to this problem is having it replaced by a system that’s sized accurately. Unfortunately, this is the only way to remedy this problem and help you down the road.

How We Can Help

If you’re unsure which problem is causing your short-cycling, don’t worry. Call us and we’ll diagnose the issue.

Contact Expert Home Solutions for proper AC care you can count on. Quality & Integrity.

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