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Why Is My AC Shutting Itself Off?

If you are noticing that your air conditioner is frequently shutting on and off every ten to fifteen minutes, you are likely wondering what is wrong with your AC system.

There are several reasons for this, ranging from simple problems to more complex ones that will need an HVAC technician to fix.

Our team at Super Heat & Air explains why your AC might be shutting off and what steps to take next!

What is Air Conditioner Short Cycling?

Short cycling is the term that HVAC professionals use to describe when a heating or cooling cycle shuts down prematurely, or if the HVAC unit turns on or off frequently.

Air conditioner units short cycle when they turn on and off before they cool down the environment to your chosen temperature. This can be problematic for a variety of reasons, as it can cause higher energy bills and unwanted wear and tear to your HVAC system.

Short cycling can be caused by:

  • Defective parts
  • A poorly maintained or dirty system
  • Faulty components

Here are some of the most common reasons for short cycling and what you can do about it!

#1. Faulty or Improperly Placed Thermostat

Your thermostat determines when your AC shuts off. If there is a malfunction with the thermostat, then the cooling cycle will shut down prematurely. This can be caused by a problem in the thermostat itself or an electrical problem like bad wiring.

Another way that your thermostat can cause your AC to shut down suddenly is if it is improperly placed in your home. If it is placed away from windows, or near an air vent, it can incorrectly read that the house is cooled to the desired temperature. 

#2. Dirty Air Filters

Your air filters should be changed every 30-60 days here in Florida. When they get dirty, the airflow will be restricted and can cause the evaporator coils to freeze, causing the AC unit to shut down prematurely.

#3. Frozen Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coil that you can find inside your air handler removes heat from the air inside your home. This cooled air recirculates through the air vents from the blower.

When the evaporator coils get dirty, or if the airflow is insufficient, frost and ice can form on the coils, causing the unit to suddenly shut down. If this happens, the HVAC system must work harder to defrost the evaporator coil, causing wear and tear, as the AC unit overheats.

#4. Dirty Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are found outside your home and release heat to the outside during the summer months. In a central AC system, these coils are found in the outside unit. When they are dirty, they can’t exchange heat properly.

This can cause the unit to overheat and shut down unexpectedly.

#5. Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is the substance that runs through the coils of your HVAC unit and facilitates that heat exchange. In the warmer months, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from inside your home, then sends it outside via the condenser coils.

When your refrigerant line has a leak, the heat exchange will struggle to function correctly, and might break down completely.

#6. Your Unit is Oversized

If your cooling system is too large for your home, it can cause short cycling. When you have an oversized unit, it cools your home much quicker than it should, causing it to shut down quickly.

However, your home will heat back up again quickly, causing short cycles where the AC runs for ten to fifteen minutes, shuts down, then starts again trying to keep your home cool.

#7. Electrical Problems

Another common reason for short cycling is electrical problems. This can be caused by a bad connection, a broken thermostat, a faulty circuit board, a condenser, or a compressor that is not receiving power properly.

To accurately diagnose and repair HVAC electrical issues, call our licensed HVAC technicians at Super Heat & Air ASAP!

Learn More > Why is My AC Unit Freezing?

Tampa HVAC Repairs

If you are having issues with your HVAC unit in Tampa Bay, lean on our team at Super Heat & Air to diagnose, repair, and maintain your HVAC unit so your family can stay comfortable year-round!

Call Super Heat & Air to schedule a consultation today; (813) 609-5015!