AC Keeps Turning On and Off: The Top Possible Culprits
In the US alone, the use of air conditioners costs homeowners about $29 billion a year. That’s already a lot, but the thing is, a huge chunk of it goes toward paying for unnecessary AC energy use.
Irregular cycling, in which an AC keeps turning on and off, is an example of unnecessary energy use. It’s vital to address this issue right away, as it wastes energy and money, and it can also cut your unit’s life short.
This guide will go into more detail about AC short-cycling issues and reasons, so be sure to read on.
Previous studies found that oversized air conditioners can boost energy use in homes by up to 13%. In most cases, this increased consumption is a result of additional cycling.
Cycling, in turn, is the technical term referring to the time an AC runs to cool a home before it turns off to save energy. It then stays in that resting phase until the space turns warm again, and at this point, it starts a new cycle. How long the cycle takes depends on how warm your home is and how high the outdoor temperature is.
Under normal conditions, it can take about seven to 10 minutes for an AC to cycle on. So if your AC keeps turning on and off every few seconds, it could be short-cycling.
Short-cycling, which can cause extra cycling, often results from an oversized AC. In this case, the unit is so powerful that it cools the air too fast, so it cycles off right away. It turns back on as soon as the air turns warm and immediately switches off once the air becomes cool again.
This repetitive cycling uses more energy, puts a lot of strain on the unit, and increases your bills. If you have an older AC, the best fix is to replace it with a more energy-efficient, properly sized unit.
Your air conditioner thermostat reads and monitors the temperature in your home. Its job is to maintain the indoor temp at the level you set the thermostat to.
According to experts, 68° Fahrenheit is the ideal indoor temperature for most homes. So if you set your thermostat at this range, your AC will work to bring your home’s temp to 68° F.
Your thermostat will then monitor the temperature for any change. Once it senses the temp to be higher than 68° F, it will signal your AC to cycle on.
However, a defective thermostat can take incorrect temperature readings. The device may think that the room is too warm, triggering the AC to cycle on. Its faulty readings may also be the exact opposite, so it can cause the AC to cycle off too soon.
So if your AC keeps turning off and on but you have a properly-sized unit, it may be your thermostat that’s bad. Fortunately, a thermostat replacement should correct this problem.
Dirty Air Conditioner Filter
A filthy air filter can make an air conditioner start then stop after only a few seconds. For starters, dust and debris build-up in the filter impedes airflow in and out of the system. This makes it harder for the AC to draw moisture out of the warm air, which can then make the unit overheat.
In many cases, an overheating AC motor can trigger the system’s safety shut-off feature.
So, as much as possible, change or wash your AC filter once every month or two.
Time To Address the Reasons Your AC Keeps Turning on and Off
As you can see, a too-big unit, a bad thermostat, or a dirty air filter can be the reason your AC keeps turning on and off. Hopefully, your issue is only one of the last two, as these are the cheapest to fix. However, it might be better to replace an oversized unit that keeps short-cycling.
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June Potter wrote this article on behalf of FreeUp. FreeUp is the fastest-growing freelance marketplace in the US. FreeUp only accepts the top 1% of freelance applicants. Click here to get access to the top freelancers in the world.
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