Why is my AC unit turning on and off frequently?  Pippin Brothers, Lawton, OK
June 25, 2020

Why Your Air Conditioner is Turning On and Off

If your air conditioner is turning on and off frequently, you’re experiencing something called short cycling, one of the most common air conditioning problems among homeowners.

It can also be the most costly—that is, if it’s not caught and fixed in time.

Here are some of the most common causes of short-cycling and ways they can be corrected.

Thermostat location

Think of your thermostat as your AC’s trusty informant, using the temperature around it to decide when to turn the system ON and OFF. That’s why the air around your thermostat should be an accurate representation of the temperature throughout your home.

Think about it: Thermostats located too close to a supply air vent, or near a window with direct sunlight, make your thermostat think your home is either colder or warmer than it really is, creating a never-ending ON/OFF battle for you and your AC system.

What we recommend: This is a relatively simple fix—just find a better centralized location for your thermostat with the help of your AC technician.

Dirty air filter

Oh, the dirty air filter. It’s the cause of most AC malfunctions and understandably so. A dirty filter restricts airflow, and restricted airflow causes a whole slew of problems, including frozen evaporator coils. This can cause the unit to malfunction by turning on and off in short bursts. 

What we recommend: Replace or clean your dirty air filter on a regular basis to avoid bigger, more expensive problems. If short-cycling still occurs, you may want to call a professional to check out your evaporator coils and other internal equipment.

Pro Tip: Try FilterFetch and never forget to change your air filters again! Contact us for more info.

Refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant (or “freon”) is a coolant that flows through your system to help absorb heat and cool down the air inside your home. When refrigerant is low, it messes with the pressure levels needed for your compressor to operate the way it should.

Most compressors have a low pressure control that acts as a safety switch by shutting off your compressor. When your compressor is off, pressure rises and triggers it to restart again, creating a rapid on/off cycle that can cause serious system damage or possible failure.

What we recommend: Call an AC technician to find and fix the leak.

An oversized AC

If you’ve recently replaced an AC and it’s short cycling, or have a system that’s always had the problem since the day it was installed, there’s a good chance the system is too big for your home.

A large AC means your home is being cooled too rapidly and unevenly. That’s why it’s frequently turning on and off.

This is a problem for a few reasons:

  • It runs up your energy bill (because turning on an air conditioner requires more energy)

  • It increases the chance of a breakdown

  • It shortens your air conditioner’s lifespan.

 What we recommend: Get a trustworthy AC company to do a heat load calculation to make sure your air conditioner isn’t oversized. Many HVAC companies also provide airflow and whole house evaluations to make honest assessments on issues involving airflow and poorly installed systems.

The Next Steps to Fixing Your AC Issues

Considering that short cycling involves your compressor and compressor coils (the mechanical heart of your entire system), we highly recommend contacting a trusted professional who can clearly diagnose and solve the problem before bigger and more expensive issues occur.

If you are:
uncomfortable in your home
looking to save energy
breathing unhealthy air
suffering from allergies, hay fever, or asthma
feeling like you're wasting money on repairs
dealing with clogged drains, drips, leaks, or phantom-flushing toilets, low-flow showers, or bad-tasting water

or want just want to:
avoid HVAC or plumbing breakdowns
prevent burst pipes this winter
protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning
verify everything in your home is working as it should...
give us a call.

The Trusted AC Repair Company in the Greater Lawton Area

We’ve already helped many of your neighbors, and we are grateful that the community continues to embrace and honor Pippin Brothers Home Services as the most reviewed, highly respected, regularly recommended, and graciously referred company in the Greater Lawton, Fort Sill, and Duncan, Oklahoma area since 1978. Don’t take our word for it… trust what our online testimonials, Google and Facebook reviews, and Better Business Bureau A+ Rating say about us. If you reside outside our service area, we hope the information here is useful for you!

Are you in need of a trusted HVAC technician to get your AC back to normal? Pippin Brothers Home Services happily provides air conditioner repair in the Greater Lawton, Fort Sill, and Duncan, Oklahoma area. Call the team at Pippin Brothers at 580-699-5662 or get in touch here.