Pittsburgh, PA Air Conditioning FAQ: Why Your System Short Cycles

Air conditioning systems are designed to turn on when the temperature rises to a certain level, and then turn off again after the temperature drops. Normally, an air conditioning unit will run for at least 10 minutes before turning itself off. In some cases, however, your air conditioner may “short cycle,” turning on and off more frequently than it should. If your system short cycles, you need to address the issue lest it result in higher electric bills or additional damage to your unit. A number of factors may cause short-cycling, most of which can be diagnosed and fixed by a trained technician.

  • Size: If your air conditioning system is too large for the space it needs to heat, it may short cycle very quickly. The best way to avoid this problem is to have a load calculation performed on your home to determine exactly what capacity air conditioning system that you need.
  • Refrigerant leak: Air conditioning systems use refrigerant to absorb the heat in your home and carry it outside. The refrigerant is supposed to be in a completely self-contained system; and short cycling may mean that that a leak has sprung up somewhere.
  • Icing: The evaporator coil may develop ice on its surface, which can cause your AC to turn off and on very quickly until the ice melts. Icing on the coils suggests a larger problem with the system, and again requires the attention of a trained expert.
  • Control board: Though unlikely, a control board or control switch might be damaged or broken, which is causing short cycling. In such an event, the control board will probably need to be replaced.

For over 80 years, Boehmer Heating & Cooling has handled air conditioning problems in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Our knowledgeable staff is fully certified and dedicated to customer satisfaction. If your system is short cycling and you need to pinpoint the cause, give us a call to set up an appointment immediately. We’ll root out the source of the problem and make sure it gets fixed the first time every time.

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