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Everything You Need To Know About Air Conditioning Cycles

Is your air conditioner struggling to keep your home cool and comfortable? Get in touch with Green Energy Mechanical Inc. at (781) 236-3421 to diagnose and fix the problem fast.

Even on the warmest days, your home’s air conditioner doesn’t run continuously. HVAC equipment runs in cycles, turning on and off automatically, to maintain a consistent temperature without putting excessive wear and tear on the mechanical components or driving up energy bills. Changes to the air conditioning cycle are often a sign of a problem, but to identify exactly what’s happening, you must understand the typical cycle duration. 

If you notice air conditioner cycle issues and you need reliable air conditioner repair in Newton, Green Energy Mechanical Inc. is standing by to get to the root of the issue and restore indoor comfort. 

What Happens During a Normal Air Conditioning Cycle 

It’s helpful to review how air conditioners work to understand air conditioning cycles. When the thermostat detects that the indoor temperature is warmer than your desired setting, it signals the compressor to pull heat from the air. The warm air flows over evaporator coils in the condenser unit, removing the heat and moisture.

Once the air cools, fans inside the air handler send the air into the ductwork and blow it through the vents into individual rooms. The typical cycle duration for this process takes about 15 minutes, and cycles continue until the rooms reach the desired temperature. The thermostat then triggers the air conditioner to turn off.

When the air conditioning equipment is running properly, it should cycle two to three times an hour. There are times when it will continue running without turning off, such as exceedingly hot days or when the interior temperature is significantly higher than the thermostat setting, as it will take longer to cool down.  

Signs of a Cycling Problem With an Air Conditioner 

One of the most common air conditioning cycle issues is short cycling. This means the unit has a short cycle duration, usually 10 minutes or less. You might notice the air conditioner turns on, runs for a few minutes, and then turns off without cooling.

Short cycling can cause significant damage to air conditioning equipment. Constantly turning on and off puts excessive wear and tear on the mechanical components, particularly the compressor. Compressor damage is often irreparable, meaning it will likely require replacement.

Sometimes, short cycling occurs because the HVAC equipment is too small to handle the cooling load in the home. Oversized HVAC units can also cause short cycling since they cool off the space faster than necessary. However, short cycle duration is more likely to be due to one of the following issues than from improperly sized equipment: 

  • Electrical issues
  • Dirty evaporator coils
  • Drain clogs
  • Thermostat malfunctions 

Sometimes, air conditioners can have extra long cycle durations. With a long cycle problem, the air conditioner continues running even after reaching the thermostat setting. Not only does this wear out the equipment, it can send your power bills skyrocketing. 

The most common reasons for long cycles include:

  • Dirty air filters
  • Improperly sized equipment for the cooling load
  • Leaks in the ductwork
  • Low refrigerant levels 

Occasionally, extra hot or humid days can cause a longer air conditioning cycle. This is normal and not typically a cause for concern if the equipment works well the rest of the time. 

Maintaining Proper Cycle Times 

Making sure that your air conditioner cycles are just right does more than prevent excessive wear and tear. It helps keep your power bills in check, maintains proper humidity levels inside your home, and ensures the air conditioner is as efficient as possible. Although it seems counterintuitive, longer cycle times reduce the work required for the unit to cool your home.

Keeping up with regular maintenance, including changing the air filter on a regular schedule, will help prevent short or long cycling and keep your air conditioner in top condition. 

Call Green Energy Mechanical Inc. for Help With Air Conditioner Cycle Issues

When air conditioner cycles are shorter or longer than usual, call Green Energy Mechanical Inc. at (781) 236-3421 to have a NATE-certified technician investigate. The sooner you address air conditioning cycle issues, the less likely it is that you’ll have to invest in new equipment sooner than planned.

Don’t let a dirty air conditioner filter or minor electrical issue cause an inconvenient breakdown. Trust the local experts in HVAC maintenance and repair to keep your heating and cooling systems working reliably. Call Green Energy Mechanical Inc. today.

Author Bio:

Jonathan Neves

Worked in the HVAC industry since he was 17. He started as an HVAC service technician for commercial buildings and eventually came into the residential market because of his love of working with people. He believes that what really sets Green Energy Mechanical apart is how long they stand behind their work and how compassionate his employees are for their clients.



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