What Is AC Short Cycling?

Does your cooling device turn on and off frequently with inefficient cooling? Your air conditioner might be short cycling. Therefore, to solve this issue, AC service Mission Viejo professionals aim to provide you with the best quality service maintenance and help you identify the underlying cause of HVAC inefficiency and high energy load uptake.

Understanding the Cycle Time of the HVAC Systems

The cycle time of an Air Conditioning unit refers to the time taken to achieve the desired temperature of the room set on the thermostat. If the set thermostat temperature is much below the room temperature, the compressor will work for a longer time, thus increasing the cycle time. Cycle time is affected by a lot of factors, including-

Power Consumption

A lot of energy is consumed by an AC unit when the compressor is turned on, which is greater than the power consumed by the air conditioner for a longer continuous cycle. Short cycling can further increase the capacitor load and the overall energy consumption. 


A longer cycle promotes effective removal of humidity and efficient cooling. An AC unit undergoing short cycles can not improve the humidity index of the room, which further overloads the condenser and increases the energy consumption.


Longer the cycle, the greater the efficiency of an air conditioning unit.


Longer cycles increase the overall comfort of the room as the desired temperature is maintained with the effective removal of humidity. Short cycling can fluctuate the room’s temperature at a very short interval of time, thus decreasing the overall comfort.

Ideal Cycle For An Air Conditioner Unit

Different HVAC systems have different cycle times. Ideally, 10-20 minutes of cycle time (2-3 cut-offs per hour) promotes maximum efficiency. If your air conditioning device turns on and off more than 3-4 times per hour, request a service appointment today. 

What To Expect From Your HVAC Technician?

A professional HVAC technician will look out for factors that may cause short cycling, including-

Low Refrigerant Levels

A refrigerant is a chemical that helps absorb heat and promotes cooling, and low refrigerant levels can burden other parts of the HVAC that can cause short cycling.

Oversized Air Conditioner

An oversized Air conditioner will provide cooling comfort faster but with high energy consumption and increased load on other parts.

Iced or Dirty Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is used to remove the hot and humid air effectively; if the coil is not cleaned, it can increase the burden on the other parts of the HVAC and thus increase the load causing it to shut off. 

Dirty and Clogged Air Filter

A dirty filter puts an excessive load on the compressor, causing it to shut down. Regular cleaning helps decrease the load and promote cooling efficiency.

AC unit Short cycling is a common troubleshoot problem that requires professional service. To know more about our services at South Country Air Services or schedule a service appointment to prevent further harm to your HVAC system.