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Mack Morris Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Why Won’t My AC Stay on Long Enough to Cool the House?


If your house isn’t feeling cool enough, you may begin to pay closer attention to your air conditioner as you try to figure out what is going on. You may notice that your air conditioner is turning on and off quickly without staying on long enough to call your home. 

When this happens, it is called short cycling. There can be a variety of reasons that your air conditioner short cycles, but it is never a good thing. In fact, it means that you need to schedule service for your central AC system in Charlottesville, VA. And our team is here to help! In the meantime, you can keep reading to learn more about short cycling and what it means for your air conditioner.

What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling means that your air conditioner has a shorter cooling cycle than it should. A normal cooling cycle usually lasts for 15 and 20 minutes. Your air conditioner will rotate through cooling cycles as it turns on and off at regular intervals throughout the day. This is normal. But if the cooling cycles begin to be shorter, like closer to five minutes long for example, that is a red flag of something wrong.

When your air conditioner short cycles, it cannot completely cool your home. Sure, some cool air will blow out through the vents, but your home will never feel as comfortable as you want it to. One reason for this is that the cooling cycle doesn’t have enough time to complete all the steps it needs to, like blowing heat and humidity outside of your home. If heat and humidity get trapped inside your air conditioning system, they will simply be re-released into the air of your home.

Reasons for Short Cycling

One common reason for an air conditioner to short cycle is poor airflow. If you have a significantly dirty air filter, it is clogged with dirt and not allowing enough airflow to make its way into your air conditioner for cooling. When your AC turns on for a cooling cycle it will turn back off again quickly if it cannot bring in enough airflow. This happens as a way of protecting the system from overheating if it has to work too hard to bring in air. 

It’s also possible that your air conditioner is the wrong size. Air conditioners that are too big will short cycle. This happens because they’re too powerful compared to the space being cooled. As a result, the air conditioner will blow a lot of cool air into your home quickly. Your desired temperature gets reached and the thermostat signals the air conditioner to turn off in the middle of a cooling cycle instead of allowing time for a complete cooling cycle.

And it may come down to your thermostat being the problem. Since your thermostat is what signals your air conditioner to turn on and off, it is possible that there is a miscalibration, allowing your thermostat to send incorrect signals. Thankfully, this is an easy fix. Our team can clean the inside of your thermostat if needed and recalibrate it to work at its best again. 

We can’t control the weather outside of your home, but we can control the weather inside your home. The team at Mack Morris Heating & A/C is here to help with al your AC needs so schedule your appointment today.

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