Are you tired of hearing the AC kick on and off? Not only can the noise of the AC kicking on and off aggravate you, but it can also lead to inefficient cooling and compromise your home’s indoor comfort. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the AC from kicking on and off so much. To help you understand AC cycling, we put together a helpful guide to explain how cycling works and how to prevent excessive cycling.
Why Do Air Conditioners Cycle On and Off?
When the thermostat senses that the interior temperature is higher than what you set it to, it tells the air conditioner to produce cool air. As it cycles on, it sucks in warm air and passes it over coils filled with refrigerant. The refrigerant cools the air, which the AC then releases into the home through air vents. Once it detects that the temperature meets the thermostat setting, it tells the AC to cycle back off. It will do this over and over again to keep your home at a temperature set by the thermostat. Our technicians will check your thermostat while performing an inspection to determine if a repair is required.
What Is Frequent Cycling?
AC frequent cycling, also commonly referred to as short cycling, occurs when the AC cycles on and off too much. An air conditioner operating with good efficiency will only cycle on and off about two to three times an hour.
Air conditioners can generally cool a space in about 15 to 20 minutes. Then they kick off for at least 10 minutes. This gives them time to cool down and rest, which is essential to their performance, before they kick back on. If you notice the AC kicking on and off every few minutes, you need to call an HVAC contractor from Precision Heating & Air fast.
Living in Dallas puts your home’s cooling system at high risk for short cycling due to several reasons, including:
- Extremely high temperatures
- High humidity levels during the summer
- Rapid temperature fluctuations throughout the year
- Inconsistent weather patterns
How Does Frequent Cycling Hurt the Air Conditioner?
There are several reasons an air conditioner will frequently cycle, including dirty air filters, improper thermostat settings, dead thermostat batteries, and refrigerant issues. An improperly sized AC is also a common culprit of short cycling. Regardless of the cause, fixing the problem is crucial to the health of your home’s cooling system. These concerns are common and repaired by our technicians.
Reduced Energy Efficiency
Short cycling greatly reduces the cooling system’s energy efficiency. This happens because the system’s startup process consumes a sizable portion of its energy. The more the system turns on and off, the less efficient it becomes.
Increase Wear and Tear
The constant on-and-off cycling puts extra strain on the various components of the AC system, including the compressor, fan motor, and other mechanical parts. As it cycles on and off, these components become worn out, resulting in having to prematurely replace them on a regular basis. If you don’t repair the worn-out parts, it makes the system even less efficient.
Not only does frequent cycling cause premature replacement of parts, but it ultimately leads to having to replace the entire system. Instead of lasting for 15 to 20 years like most well-taken care of air conditioners, it’ll last only five to 10 years, if that long. This is why investing in repairs to fix the short cycling can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Poor Humidity Control
Short cycling directly affects the air conditioner’s ability to help control indoor humidity levels. It does this by lowering the dehumidification capacity of the system.
Excessive levels of humidity in a home can have several disadvantages, including:
- Poor indoor comfort
- Higher cooling costs
- Damage to paintwork, walls, and flooring
- Lower indoor air quality
- Increase in allergy and asthma symptoms
Increased Energy Costs
Air conditioners use energy, and they use a lot of it every time they kick on. This means the more they kick on and off, the more energy they use, and the higher your cooling expenses will be. Investing in a repair to stop the frequent cycling can save you as much as 30% or more on your energy costs.
How to Prevent Frequent Cycling
There are several easy-to-follow tips you can use to help keep your AC from cycling on and off too much. We recommend using the tips below in addition to scheduling a professional inspection to ensure you take care of the problem correctly.
Set a Reasonable Temperature Differential
When setting the ON and OFF temperatures on the thermostat, try to use a bigger temperature differential. For example, don’t set it to have an ON temperature of 68°F and an OFF temperature of 70°F. Instead, create a larger temperature differential for the system to work with by aiming for a difference of about five degrees. You can do this by setting the ON temperature to 67°F and the OFF temperature to 72°F. This prevents the system from kicking on and then kicking right back off and then on again. It also ensures your home stays at a comfortable temperature, even on the hottest of days.
Change the Air Filter Regularly
A filthy filter prevents the air conditioner from efficiently cooling your house by restricting airflow. Due to decreased airflow, the unit will cycle on and off as it attempts to chill the air. In addition to causing short cycling, dirty filters also lead to poor indoor air quality and reduced interior comfort. More so, they cause excessive wear and tear on the AC and lead to worn-out parts. You can avoid all of these issues and possibly stop the short cycling simply by changing the filter on a regular basis.
Find and Fix Air Leaks and Drafts
If your home doesn’t have proper insulation, there will be all kinds of cracks and crevices through which air can escape. Sealing these gaps and holes, which often occur in basements, attics, ceilings, and around windows and doors, can keep the AC from short cycling.
Other ways to keep the AC from short cycling are to maintain proper refrigerant levels, clean your home’s air registers and vents, and schedule regular maintenance. You may even want to consider upgrading your home with a zoned heating and cooling system. Zoned heating and cooling can prevent AC short cycling by providing precise temperature control in different areas of your home.
Precision Heating & Air is here to help you make the best choice. We offer a wide variety of AC installation, repair, and maintenance services. Give us a call today, we are available if you need emergency service, to learn more about the various ways you can keep your AC from cycling on and off too much.