Why Is My Air Conditioner Constantly Switching On and Off?


If you’re tired of hearing your AC kick on and off, you’re not alone. Mang homeowners find themselves annoyed by short cycling, or the incessant on and off of the AC. Unfortunately, this issue is more than just a nuisance – it’s a sign you need air conditioning service in Rock Hill, SC. Find out why your air conditioner is doing this and how you can fix it. 

Broken Thermostat 

If you’re lucky, the issue is a broken thermostat. Although the thermostat is a small and inexpensive component of your AC, it’s essential to the functionality of your system. A broken thermostat could be the reason your system is short cycling. 

The thermostat may not sense the right temperature, which means it’s telling the AC to turn on or off at the wrong time. If you see a blank or faded screen on your thermostat, you can bet that this is the cause of your troubles. For a simple fix, replace the batteries in the thermostat. 

Poor Placement of the Thermostat 

A thermostat can only measure the air temperature in its location. Therefore, a thermostat close to a window or in direct sunlight won’t accurately read the temperature in your home. As a result, your AC might cycle on and off.

When you install a thermostat, make sure it’s away from sunlight or a particularly hot area of your home. Likewise, keep it away from air supply vents. If you have an existing HVAC system, you may need to hire a technician to move your thermostat to a better location. 

Clogged Air Filter

When is the last time you changed your air filter? If you can’t answer the question, it’s time to change it out. Your dirty air filter could be why your AC turns on and off so frequently. 

A dirty filter doesn’t allow for complete air flow. In addition to causing short cycling, a dirty filter can cause other serious issues for your air conditioner. You should change the filters every three months to avoid problems.

Dirty Coils

One of the most important parts of AC maintenance is cleaning the condenser coils. Unfortunately, not all homeowners keep up with their AC maintenance. The coils become covered in dirt and don’t allow heat to release from your system and home. As a result, your AC turns on and off as it tries to keep up with your cooling needs. 

If you suspect this is the issue, you can call an HVAC technician for an inspection. A quality air conditioning service will clean your coils and get your AC back in working order.

AC is Too Large

If you recently moved into a new home or had a new HVAC system installed, you could have a problem with the size of your AC. An oversized system cools your home too quickly and turns off after it kicks on. Sadly, this comes with consequences. For one, your energy bills will be sky-high.

Another issue with an oversized AC is the humidity in your home. Because the system doesn’t run for long enough, it doesn’t remove enough moisture from your air. You could have mold and mildew growth in your home. The only fix for an oversized AC is to replace it with a smaller system. To prevent this issue, work with a reputable company to install your AC. 

Refrigerant Leaking 

When your refrigerant lines have a leak, your system is likely to short cycle. It won’t have enough refrigerant to maintain the pressure in the system. As the pressure drops, the AC turns off. Then, the pressure rises, and it turns back on. This cycle continues and takes a toll on your AC. 

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, call for help immediately. The gas is dangerous, and your system is also in danger. 

Broken Compressor 

If you have an older system, you might have a broken compressor. This could keep your system from working at all, or it could result in short cycling. Either way, your AC needs help.

Pay attention to how frequently your compressor turns off. If it turns off every two to three minutes, your compressor is the culprit. It may be overheating or failing. Unless you address the issue, the other components of your AC will begin to fail. 

Electrical Issues

 Without electricity or proper wiring, your AC won’t work. You may be able to attribute your short cycling to an electrical problem. The capacitor could be broken, or you might have an issue with the circuit board. 

Although you might prefer DIY fixes, there is no safe way to repair an electrical issue with your AC. You should call an HVAC technician to diagnose the issue and safely repair it. 

Broken Run Capacitor 

The run capacitor allows your AC to get a boost of energy to kick on. Once the system is on, the capacitor keeps it running with continuous power. A broken capacitor won’t be able to supply enough power or could provide intermittent power. As a result, short cycling will occur. 

Generally, broken run capacitors cause ACs to turn off after only a few seconds. If your AC runs for 30 seconds or less, you may need a new run capacitor. Your HVAC technician can replace the part before your system experiences more damage. 

Clogged Drain 

On most HVAC systems, there is a float switch. The switch detects when water fills up the drain pan, and it automatically shuts off the AC. If you have a clogged drain line, water won’t drain from the pan, and your AC will turn off frequently. 

You can check your drain pan for water to find out if this is the issue. For a quick fix, try pouring a solution of bleach and water into your drain line. If that doesn’t work, you need a professional to clean out the line. 

Call Our Air Conditioning Service in Rock Hill, SC

 You don’t need to worry about your AC. If you notice short cycling, call our air conditioning service in Rock Hill, SC. Here at Panther Heating and Cooling, we’ll diagnose and repair your AC.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Panther Heating and Cooling.

Call us at (803) 327-2700!