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Serving Northern California Since 1946

Serving Northern California Since 1946


DeHart Plumbing, Heating, and Air Inc. Blog

The DeHart Guide to “Short Cycling”

You’ve turned your air conditioner on for the first couple of times this season and you’ve noticed something peculiar–it’s running in shorter cycles than it used to. At first, this might just feel like a fluke, perhaps you’re just not measuring the time accurately since you’re busy. Or, maybe your air conditioner just doesn’t need to work as hard this year as opposed to last year. But these are usually justifications for ignoring a pretty serious problem that’s taking place.

This is what we call in the industry short cycling and it’s a devastating problem, both with how hard it can be to notice, and how bad it is for the AC. It’s not just a problem in and of itself, it’s a symptom of some other problems. A professional will be able to tell you all about this when you schedule AC repair in Modesto, CA. And trust us, if your air conditioner is short cycling this spring, then you definitely need professional repairs.

The Problem With Short Cycling

Short cycling is a problem on its own. It’s basically when your air conditioner runs in short, frequent bursts instead of the full cooling cycle that it’s supposed to run. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is!

A short cycling air conditioner puts a lot of stress on the components in charge of starting up and shutting down. These components aren’t supposed to work as frequently as they do in a system that’s short cycling, which is why they can break down or run into problems in just a couple of years when they’re supposed to last for a decade or more.

Also, if that isn’t bad enough, the startup is the most energy-intensive part of the cooling process, which means your air conditioner is doing the hardest part of the job more often every day. This is going to cost you money on your energy bills.

A Bad Omen

To top it all off, a short cycling AC can be a sign of a more insidious problem happening under the hood of your AC. Just take a look at a few examples.

  • Refrigerant leak. Leaking refrigerant can cause the system to need to run more cycles to do the same cooling job with less refrigerant. This is a bad situation.
  • Clogged air filter. Yes, if your air filter gets too clogged up, it can inhibit the flow of air and cause the stifling system to run in short cycles.
  • Frozen coils. When coils freeze up, they can cause the system to immediately shut down before the cycles has been completed. This can lead to short cycles throughout the day.
  • Electrical issues. A tripped circuit or problem with an AC’s internal wiring can make the system shut down early during a cycle.
  • A botched installation. If your air conditioner is too large and wasn’t sized correctly, it can cool your home down too quickly and short cycle rather than run the normal cooling process.

Do yourself a big favor and call our team to schedule an appointment today. We can diagnose the issue correctly and get it fixed before you have time to worry about anything else.

Contact DeHart Plumbing, Heating, and Air Inc. for immediate help with your short cycling air conditioner.

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