Why Does My AC Keep Turning Off?

When your air conditioner keeps turning off and on by itself, it can disrupt its cooling functions and ability to deliver cool, clean air to your home. Continue reading to find out why this happens and how plumbing professionals can fix it.

At Hearn Plumbing, Heating and Air, it is our goal to help keep the air in your home cool and clean. Continue reading to find out more about AC systems that have a mind of their own.

Why Does My AC Keep Turning Off and On By Itself?

When your air conditioner experiences problems, one common result is your AC compressor overheating and shutting off. While this issue can be irritating and inconvenient, it can also be extremely damaging to your unit. So, to answer the question, “why does my AC keep turning off and on by itself,” in the HVAC world, this is due to an issue called short-cycling.

What is Short-Cycling?

Short-cycling occurs when your air conditioner fails to produce an adequate amount of cool, clean air in its intended time frame. Your air compressor should turn on for about 10 minutes to cool your home, then turn off again for 10 minutes and repeat this cycle about three times during an hour. When your system experiences short-cycling, its cooling time is reduced. 

While less than 10 minutes of difference may seem insignificant, your unit short-cycling every 5 minutes can increase humidity in your home, wear out your air compressor before it’s due to be replaced, and raise your energy bill because your system is running inefficiently. 

Common HVAC Problems That Cause Short-Cycling

Certain components and problems in your HVAC system can lead to short-cycling and cause your unit to turn on by itself at the wrong times. Listed below are some of these issues.

  • A refrigerant leak or lack of refrigerant can often lead to short-cycling because the chemical is needed to circulate through your compressor and convert heat into cool air.
  • Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to air conditioner systems. If your unit is too large for your home, it will cool rooms too quickly and shut off before its entire cycle. This causes your home to quickly heat back up again before the next cooling cycle starts.
  • Thermostat placement can also affect short-cycling. If your thermostat is too close to the cold air your unit is emitting, it can often register an inaccurate temperature for the room and end your cooling cycle and circulation after a few seconds.

Is a New Air Conditioner Necessary to Stop Short-Cycling?

Some issues, like the size of your unit, can cause the need for a new air conditioner system that is smaller and more suited to your home’s space. Upgrading to a split system during this process will also increase your energy efficiency and require less maintenance.

Other services like cleaning filters and coils, topping off your refrigerant levels, and changing the position of your thermostat are all repair issues our technicians can help you with. DIYs can be dangerous, and HVAC work should be left to the professionals. After all, refrigerant is a deadly chemical and if it is breathed in too much or ingested, it can prove to be deadly.

Call Hearn Plumbing, Heating and Air For Your Home Services

Having an AC compressor shut off after 2-3 minutes can be frustrating, but we can help. Hearn Plumbing, Heating and Air can help with your HVAC issues and installations in Madison, OH and its surrounding areas. Whether you need a problem checked out or an entire HVAC system, our experienced technicians can handle your installation and repair needs.