Does Your AC Keep Short-Cycling?

Why Is My Air Conditioner Turning On and Off Constantly?

If you live within 20-25 miles of Frederick, Maryland and your air conditioner is cycling on and off repeatedly – a condition known as “short-cycling” – you may need to make AC repairs. Wenbrooke Services can help – call us at (240) 685-1174 for an AC inspection.

In the meantime, check out our answers to customers’ most common questions about AC short-cycling.


What Is Short-Cycling?

Under normal warm weather conditions, your AC system’s compressor will typically run for about 10 minutes and then stop for about 10 minutes.

Short-cycling occurs when this on/off cycle occurs more frequently, with each on or off cycle lasting less than the usual 10 minutes.

Causes of AC Short-Cycling

Short-cycling can have several causes, including:

  • Low AC refrigerant
  • Malfunctioning thermostat
  • Incorrectly installed thermostat
  • Air conditioner is too large
  • Faulty low pressure control switch
  • Clogged air filters

The only way to diagnose the cause of your AC short-cycling is a detailed AC inspection. Our technicians follow a detailed inspection checklist to get to the root of your AC problems.

How to Prevent AC Short-Cycling

There are a few steps you can take as a homeowner to prevent your AC from short-cycling, including:

  • Schedule recurring annual maintenance for your air conditioner
  • Change air filters regularly
  • Install a properly sized air conditioner

Many homeowners assume “bigger is better.” Don’t fall for that trap – ask an AC technician you trust for a recommendation on the right size air conditioner for your home.

How to Fix AC Short-Cycling

Here are some of the steps your Wenbrooke Services technician will take to fix an air conditioner that is short-cycling:

  • Ensure proper thermostat placement. A thermostat installed too close to your air registers will get a misleading read of the temperature and will signal the air conditioner to turn on and off at the wrong times.
  • Check for low refrigerant. If necessary, your technician will add more refrigerant.
  • Fix refrigerant leaks. If refrigerant is low, it’s possible there’s a leak somewhere in your AC system. Our technicians can perform a diagnostic to locate the leak and perform necessary repairs.
  • Inspect the compressor. If your compressor is worn or damaged, it may need to be replaced. Don’t delay this repair: Replacing a compressor is much less costly than replacing an entire AC unit.
  • Replace the low-pressure control switch. This part monitors the refrigeration system for a loss of refrigerant charge and helps prevent the evaporator coil from freezing up.

What to Do If Your AC Is Cycling On/Off Repeatedly

Constant AC cycling is normal; a problem only exists when the cycles are too short or too frequent.

If your AC system is cycling on and off in intervals shorter than 10 minutes, call us for an inspection and (if necessary) repairs.

Why Choose Wenbrooke Services?

Wenbrooke Services is built around four core values: Honesty, Loyalty, Craftsmanship, and Quality.

  • We strive to be better at our craft every day and to complete every task with excellence.
  • We are a family-owned company that enjoys serving the community.
  • We care about you as a customer.
  • We strive to focus on quality and craftsmanship during every service appointment.

You can always expect a customized recommendation from Wenbrooke Services – we believe in recommending the right solution based on your needs and budget.