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Why Your Air Conditioner Runs in Short Bursts

AC-technician-toolsWe will start this blog off by answering what is likely your first question right away—yes, this indicates that there is a problem with your air conditioning system. Air conditioners are designed to run in full and even cooling cycles. If your system is starting up, running only briefly, and then cycling back down, it is not working properly. It really is that simple. What is not so simple, though, is pinpointing the cause of this problem.

There are a few different reasons why your air conditioner may run in short cycles like this. Short cycling is always indicative of an operational issue, but the severity of such issues can vary wildly. While it may be the result of a problem with a very simple fix, it could also mean that you have a potentially serious problem in need of professional repair services. So without further ado, here’s why your air conditioner in Everett, WA may be short cycling.

You May Just Need a New Air Filter

We are easing you into these issues with what is undoubtedly the best case scenario. Has it been a while since you have changed the standard air filter in your air conditioning system? If so, then you may simply need to swap out a very dirty filter for a fresh one. When your air filter is too dirty, the system is really going to have to work hard in order to force conditioned air through that filter.

In attempting to do so, the system can actually start to overheat. When that happens, your air conditioner may cycle down in order to protect itself from damages caused by this strain. Air filters need to be changed every 1-3 months, typically. We recommend checking in on yours regularly to ensure that it is fresh.

An Important Component May Be Compromised

Moving up the list of seriousness is a faulty AC component. In cases of short cycling, there are a few likely culprits. First, there’s the thermostat. This component is the one that you have the most direct interaction with, and it is responsible for ensuring that your system maintains the temperature of your choosing. If it is not registering temperatures correctly, then the thermostat may be signaling the AC to shut down prematurely.

There is also a component called a run capacitor in your air conditioning system. This is responsible for maintaining the charge necessary for keeping your motor running reliably. If the run capacitor is failing, then your system may not be able to keep the motor up and running in a reliable fashion.

And Now, the Bad News

It could be a refrigerant leak. When your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, the system will really struggle to cool your home. The evaporator coil may ice over, creating an insulating barrier that only makes the system’s job more difficult. Eventually, running a system that is low on refrigerant can destroy your compressor.

If your filter is clean and your system is short cycling, do not ignore the problem. It is not “minor” and it is not just going to go away. We may just need to swap out your thermostat, but if you’re looking at a refrigerant leak, you’ll want the problem resolved immediately.

Schedule your AC services with G & S Heating Cooling & Electric.

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