What Services May Your AC Need If It's Short-Cycling?
Your air conditioner should turn on and off a couple of times per hour, at most. If it is consistently kicking on and off every couple of minutes, this behavior is known as short-cycling. When an air conditioner short-cycles, something is wrong. Take a look at the services it might need.
A Filter Change
If the air filter gets too clogged with dust and debris, then pressure can build up inside the ducts. Your AC unit may respond to this high pressure by turning the air conditioner off prematurely. Then, it senses that the temperature is too high, and it turns on again. Luckily, you can change the air filter yourself. It's usually located next to your indoor air conditioner unit in a slot. Pull the old one out, and take it with you to the hardware store to ensure you buy a new one in the same size. Slide the new one in, and you're golden.
Cooling Coil Repair
It's also possible that there is a refrigerant leak in your cooling coil. As refrigerant leaks out, the remaining refrigerant over-expands and gets too cool. The system turns off in response to this, only to then kick back on again. A professional AC technician can locate the leak, seal it, and add some new refrigerant to the system.
Duct Leak Repairs
Another possibility is that there is a leak in your ducts. Sometimes one section of ductwork can separate from another section, and air can leak out between them. If you have a leak in your ducts, you can usually tell since you'll feel little to no cold air coming out of one or more of your AC vents. Luckily, this is a pretty simple problem for an AC contractor to fix. They can just reconnect the ducts and perhaps use some metal tape to keep them together.
Finally, your AC contractor will take a look at your thermostat to ensure it is calibrated properly. If it is calibrated to kick on when the temperature drops just a tiny bit, that could be your issue. Re-calibrating the thermostat is pretty simple for a professional, and it should solve short-cycling for you.
If your AC unit is short-cycling, do not ignore this symptom. Most causes of short-cycling are easy to fix, but if you let the system continue to operate in this way, then it may experience excessive wear and tear.
Contact a local AC service to learn more about how to fix short-cycling.