What Causes My AC To Turn On And Off Every Few Seconds?

Our air conditioners are complex devices that perform a vital function in our homes. When they’re working correctly, we don’t give them a second thought. You probably realize something is wrong when your air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly and requires AC replacement in Irvine, CA, sooner than expected, but you have no idea why much less what to do about it.

What is the Meaning of Short-Cycling?

According to air conditioning installation in Irvine, CA, experts, short cycling is when an air conditioner’s cooling cycle is interrupted and then restarted after a short period, every 5 to 10 minutes, depending on indoor and outdoor conditions.

Reasons For Short-Cycling:


Your air conditioner may be short-cycling because of a bad compressor, dirty filters, dirty coils, dirty coils, low refrigerant, or frozen coils. It starts up, then overheats and shuts down repeatedly. If your system is overcharged, liquid Freon will leak into your compressor, causing it to malfunction.

Overheating is caused by a faulty compressor. Filters that are clogged will prevent proper airflow and cause motors to overheat. Dirty coils, low refrigerant, and a frozen coil prevent the system from absorbing heat, causing motors to work harder and overheat.

Electrical Issues

The thermostat, electrical connections, circuit boards, and run capacitor can all cause electrical problems in your system. The thermostat is the air conditioner’s brain; a malfunctioning thermostat can cause your system to cycle on and off. Signals are sent between the thermostat, circuit boards, and relays via electrical connections; bad electrical connections can cause signal loss, causing your unit to shut off early and short cycle.

It’s also possible that circuit boards have failed or their connections have become faulty. Start capacitors assist in the unit’s startup, while a bad run capacitor prevents the unit from running. As a result, the unit may start up but will not continue to run if the run capacitor is bad.

Oversized AC

Is this a problem you’ve always had? Or did it start after a wrong-sized air conditioning installation in Irvine, CA? A too-large system will not have a proper refrigerant cycle and will have various issues, such as cooling your home too quickly and turning it off shortly after it is turned on. It causes your home to cool unevenly, causing the AC to turn on sooner than it should. These problems can also lead to more severe issues in your home, such as:

  • Higher Energy Bills: Frequently turning your air conditioner on and off consumes more energy.
  • More Repairs: Short cycling uses more energy and puts more wear and tear on the parts in your air conditioner.
  • Shorter Lifespan: Because your air conditioner is subjected to more wear and tear, it will have a shorter lifespan.

Finding a solution to this issue is not a DIY task. Routine maintenance checks can help you avoid most air conditioning problems. Once the professional has completed the inspection, he will be able to tell you what you can do to maintain your unit. Do you need this issue to be resolved as soon as possible? 


Schedule a repair with South County Air Services if you want trustworthy services. Do you have any more questions? Please contact us if you need assistance in AC replacement in Irvine, CA.