How Come My Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Right Away?

How Come My Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Right Away?

When your air conditioning system kicks on, you expect it to run for a steady period before the cooling cycle shuts down. If your air conditioner turns on and off right away, though, something is amiss with your cooling system. Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning explains this issue and its causes.

Length of Cooling Cycles

Normally, a cooling cycle will run at least 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s not abnormal for a cycle to last longer, especially when it is very hot outside. When there is a large difference between the outdoor temperature and your desired indoor temperature, it can take longer cooling cycles to lower indoor air temperature to a comfortable level. 

Air Conditioner Short Cycling

When an air conditioner starts up and shuts off again in about 10 minutes or less, this is called short cycling. Short cycling is the technical name for when the air conditioner turns on and off right away. 

Short cycling can cause damage to the system. Because it is running shorter cooling cycles, the air conditioner will run more often and use more power than it would under normal conditions. System components, especially the compressor, are forced to work harder than they usually would, which causes more wear and damage to parts of your air conditioner.

Why Your Air Conditioner Is Turning On and Off Right Away

Short cycling is caused by various system issues. Certain issues are able to be corrected through air conditioner repairs, while other issues don’t have an easy fix.

1. Dirty air filters

Running your cooling system with a dirty air filter can make it so the air conditioner turns on and off right away. When the air filter becomes completely full of contaminants, it acts as a blockage in the system and hinders airflow through the air conditioner and your home. Without proper airflow, internal elements of the air conditioner can overheat. The system will shut down prematurely to protect parts from damage. 

When your central air conditioner turns on and off right away, it’s always a good idea to check the air filter. Change it if necessary and then see how the system runs once it is ready to restart. If short cycling continues, call for central air conditioning repair.

2. Low refrigerant

Refrigerant runs through the cooling system, absorbing and releasing heat to cool the indoor air. Without the correct amount of refrigerant, cooling cycles do not work effectively. Leaks cause the system to lose refrigerant as well as refrigerant pressure.

Low refrigerant pressure is detected by the compressor, and the compressor’s low-pressure control switch will shut down the cycle. A refrigerant leak needs to be repaired by a professional to seal the system and recharge it with the proper amount of coolant.

3. Thermostat issues

If the thermostat is reading temperatures incorrectly, it may trigger cooling cycles to end prematurely. The unit’s calibration may be thrown off if bumped or mispositioned. If the thermostat is located in a spot where it is exposed to a heat source, it may not correctly read room temperatures. 

An HVAC technician is able to diagnose and repair thermostat issues that cause short cycling. In some circumstances, thermostat replacement may be needed.

4. Wrong Air Conditioner Size

Incorrect equipment size is a major reason behind a short cycling AC system. An oversized air conditioner uses a lot of energy and quickly cools down the home but doesn’t typically distribute cooling evenly. Lower temperatures are hit quickly, causing the cooling cycle to shut down soon after it starts. Unfortunately, the only solution is to replace the AC unit with an air conditioner of the right size.

Contact Thiele for Air Conditioner Services in Indianapolis

If your air conditioner turns on and off right away, don’t wait to call Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning. Our team will perform air conditioner repairs or replacement to stop short cycling and help your home stay comfortable this summer.