HomeX Logo

Sorry, the web browser you're using is not supported by this website.

Please use Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or another browser to access homex.com. Thank you.

Skip to main content

We use cookies to enhance your experience. For details on how we use cookies, collect data, & how to manage your consent please see our Cookie Policy & Privacy Policy.

My Air Conditioner is Short Cycling — Is it Broken?

Your AC system cycles to gradually cool your home. When it's short cycling, you'll notice your AC turning on and off more frequently than usual. It's important to get down to the bottom of why your AC might be short cycling to help avoid damage to the system.

Issues That Cause Air Conditioner Short Cycling

If your air conditioner is turning on and off by itself before reaching the set temperature, it's probably short cycling.

As temperatures climb outside, the temperature in your home should remain comfortable — that's what your air conditioner is for. But sometimes your AC unit has a different plan, and when it does, you'll need to be ready to troubleshoot to cool things down.

Potential Issues

  • AC keeps turning on and off
  • furnace keeps turning on and off

Your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home. When it detects a temperature change, it signals your heating or cooling system to run until the temperature reaches the setpoint. If your thermostat is faulty, it may tell your HVAC systems to start and then stop at seemingly random times resulting in an uncomfortable living space temperature.

  • AC keeps turning on and off

Thermostats control the temperature in your home by measuring the air around the thermostat and turning your heating and cooling systems on or off based on that measurement. Even if your thermostat is functioning properly, it may be fooled if it’s near a window, a vent, a ceiling fan, or if it has the sun shining on it. Thermostats should be in an area that represents the average temperature in your home in order to properly control your HVAC system.

  • air smells strange
  • AC keeps turning on and off

The wires that connect your HVAC system's power and controls can face a few problems, including damage to the wire itself, a tripped circuit breaker, a blown low voltage fuse, or failed transformer. When one of these things goes wrong, it impacts your whole AC system. You’ll need to have it inspected and repaired. This type of troubleshooting requires training and knowledge that should be handled by a technician.

  • whistling noise from the ductwork
  • furnace keeps turning on and off
  • home is unusually dirty
  • AC keeps turning on and off

In order to properly provide hot/cold airflow in your home, the HVAC filter needs to be clear of debris to let air pass through. Over time, the filter on your heating and cooling system collects dirt and dust. You must clean the filters on a regular basis to keep the air in your home and your system running efficiently.

  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • air is humid
  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • not reaching temperature set on thermostat
  • blower sounds strange
  • AC keeps turning on and off
  • air smells strange
  • air is too hot
  • furniture is warped

Your AC unit works to cool the air in your home by way of its evaporator coils. The coils allow the cooling chemicals (needed to cool your air) to evaporate from liquid to gas and absorb the heat in your air, which is how your air gets cooled. Because this part is exposed to such cold temperatures, it is vulnerable to freezing. The coil will freeze if the system is low on refrigerant or has an airflow issue, as a result of a dirty coil, filter, fan wheel, or heat exchanger. If this occurs, and is not caught in time, the issue can escalate further and the larger refrigerant line may freeze. If this is the case, you will see ice on the suction line leading from the inside unit to the outdoor unit.

  • furnace keeps turning on and off
  • AC keeps turning on and off

Each home has different needs. Having an oversized piece of HVAC equipment can be just as big an issue as having an undersized one. Too small and your home will get too hot, too large and your HVAC might short cycle.

LEARN MORE

Let's Get It Fixed!

Our virtual experts can diagnose your issue (for free!) and resolve simple problems.

What Did You Think of This Article?

What Did You Think of This Article?