What is Short-Cycling and Why is it a Problem for Your Air Conditioner?

Residential central air conditioning in a warm climates like Charleston typically operate year-round. Homeowners may worry that systems that are short-cycling or turn on and off every few minutes. If the thermostat is designed to allow only one degree of change to signal air conditioner activity short-cycling can happen. In other words, central air systems may turn on when the thermostat reaches 76 degrees and turn off when the house is cooled to 75 degrees. That small differential can cause the air conditioning to turn on and off every few minutes, and homeowners may be concerned that the equipment will wear out sooner than it should. AC Companies in Charleston can install a programmable thermostat that allows the homeowner to change this setting so the system doesn’t switch on and off according to a one-degree change in temperature.

With this thermostat, the system might turn on when the house reaches 76 degrees but not turn off until it reaches 74 or 73 degrees. Then it stays off until the house temperature reaches 77 or 78 degrees. It’s easier on the equipment to run longer than to cycle on and off frequently. Technicians from an AC Company in Charleston can evaluate other aspects of the system that may be causing it to run this way. For instance, if a vent is blowing directly in the vicinity of the thermostat, that can create false effects. The thermostat determines that the household air is cool enough when actually it hasn’t reached the set level. Since that cool air in the vent area dissipates quickly, the equipment turns on again.

Both of these issues also affect how often the heater turns on and off. Although Charleston residents expect a lot of hot weather in the summer, it can get pretty chilly in the wintertime. The average high temperature in January, for instance, is only around 50 degrees, and temperatures are colder. It’s important to have your furnace running efficiently instead of short-cycling, which could lead to premature breakdown. Technicians from a HVAC company such as Smoak’s Comfort Control can resolve these problems with your home comfort systems.