The summer months bring high temperatures that can cause you to stay inside and enjoy the relief provided by your air conditioner. But when the system seems to shut off right after beginning a new cycle, it will struggle to keep your home cool and even cause energy bills to rise.

In the latest blog post from Rusk Heating & Cooling, we’ll discuss what short cycling is, the common causes, and how to address it. Contact Rusk today to schedule AC services in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati areas.

What is Short Cycling?

Short cycling occurs when an air conditioning system rapidly turns on and off in shorter cycles than normal. When an air conditioner is cycling normally, it will turn on, run for roughly 10-15 minutes, and then shut off until it’s time to begin a new cycle.

Instead of running in regular and consistent cycles to maintain the desired temperature, the AC unit quickly shuts down and starts up again, resulting in inefficient operation and potential wear and tear on the system. Short cycling makes it difficult for the AC unit to effectively cool the area, resulting in comfort issues and higher energy consumption.

Common Causes of AC Short Cycling

An air conditioner can begin to short cycle for a number of different reasons, including:

  • Oversized or undersized unit: If the air conditioner is too large for the space it is intended to cool, it may cool the area rapidly and shut off quickly, leading to short cycling. An undersized unit, on the other hand, will struggle to cool the space efficiently, causing frequent cycling.
  • Thermostat issues: A malfunctioning thermostat that is incorrectly measuring temperatures can cause the AC system to turn on more frequently than necessary.
  • Clogged air filters: Dirty air filters restrict airflow, leading to reduced cooling efficiency. This can cause the AC system to cycle frequently as it struggles to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Refrigerant leaks: Insufficient refrigerant levels can cause the AC unit to short cycle as it tries to compensate for the loss, leading to inefficient operation.


How to Address a Short Cycling Air Conditioner

If your air conditioner is short cycling, there are a couple of steps you can take to try and address the issue. These include:

  1. Inspect and change the air filters regularly. Dirty filters should be replaced or cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper airflow. In general, air filters should be changed every 1-2 months to maintain ideal performance.
  2. Verify that the thermostat is functioning correctly. If the thermostat isn’t operating as it should, it may need to be replaced. If you find that the thermostat is accurate, however, the issue likely lies within your air conditioner.


If the system is still short cycling after you’ve checked the filters and verified the thermostat’s accuracy, get in touch with a professional. They’ll be able to inspect your system and determine whether your cooling unit is in need of replacement or repair.

Contact Rusk for AC Repair and Replacement Throughout Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati Area

Rusk Heating & Cooling proudly provides residents throughout the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area with high-quality AC repair and replacement services. If your cooling system isn’t working properly, give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

We’ll provide your home with the support and attention to detail that you need.