Take a few minutes to listen to your air conditioner as it works. Typically, it should come on when the home’s thermostat reads that the home is now too hot. It should then run for a few minutes to bring the temperature of the home down further.
Once that happens and the temperature drops, the next step is for the system to turn off and wait for the air to warm back up before it comes back on. How long should the AC stay off between cycles, then? If you believe your system is not working the way it should, it is a good idea to turn to our AC repair technician for fast and reliable help. Let us troubleshoot for you to determine the best way to get your system back up and running properly if it is not already to reduce your energy costs significantly.
What Is Typical of Air Conditioners?
Most of the time, the length of the cycle – from the period of turning off to turning back on – should be about 7 to 10 minutes. The system will often complete a full cycle every 15 to 20 minutes, then turn off for up to 10 minutes before turning back on. Following this process, the system should turn on and off about three times every hour.
Is your system doing more than that? Perhaps it is doing so less often than you think it should. It could be a sign of needed AC repair. There are many factors that play a role in what could be happening and what should be occurring.
What Happens if the AC Systems Work for Less than 10 Minutes?
In some situations, you may find the air conditioner will be in a short cycle. That means that the system runs for less than 10 minutes and then shuts off. If this is occurring, that typically means that there is a malfunction occurring.
If the system is running for less than 10 minutes, that is not normal and should be carefully considered.
What Happens if the AC System Runs for More than It Should?
A long cycle occurs when the AC runs for a much longer period before it shuts off. Sometimes, they will run for an hour. This can also be a problem and should be addressed whenever possible. Even when it is engaging in a long cycle, the system should still take 7 to 10 minutes to restart.
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Why Does Short Cycling Occur?
There are various instances in which short cycling can occur. Some of the most common causes of this include:
- Not enough refrigerant in the air conditioner. There are some situations where this may be due to a refrigerant leak, for example.
- There are some situations where the thermostat may be the problem and not the air conditioner at all. If the thermostat is not set properly, the programming is no longer accurate, or the system is just older, this can lead to short cycling problems.
- The system may be improperly sized for the home, and though this is less likely to occur if your system has been there for some time, it can be a concern in many situations. For example, if the AC system is too large for the home, it will cycle a lot more often than it should.
If you believe any of these are the concerns you have, it is a good idea to have a technician handle the repairs and upgrades for you. You can start by making sure the air filter is not clogged and updating the thermostat programming if that is a concern. You can also have a technician check the refrigerant levels.
What Causes Long Cycles?
A long cycle can also be problematic and may lead to the system not turning off properly between runs. You do not want this to happen for many reasons, but there are two main concerns.
The first is that it will waste energy over time, and that leads to a much higher cost of cooling your home. The second problem is that this will, over time, damage the system and cause it to wear down far too soon. That means more frequent repairs and ultimately needing to replace the system too soon.
There are various factors that can cause this to occur, with the most common being:
- The thermostat setting is off: If you have not programmed or updated the thermostat in some time, that could be the cause of the problem. An update to the thermostat is often the least expensive need.
- The coils could be dirty: It is a good idea to have the coils along with the air filter cleaned. Both will help to improve the flow of air through the home, helping it use energy more wisely.
- The system is old and not working as well. In situations where you are facing an inefficiency like this, it could be that your system is simply older and no longer capable of keeping up with your needs.
In all of these situations, what is most important to remember is that you should ensure that you are updating your system routinely. If you notice there is a problem with the cycling, call in a technician as soon as possible. The longer the system continues to not operate properly, the more it will cost you to repair it.
Set Up a Repair Call with Our Technician to Learn More
Now that you have an idea of how long the AC should stay off between cycles, take into consideration the current needs of your system. If you have not had an annual inspection and tune-up or there is a nonworking system present, it is best to give us a call right away for help. Contact Ambient Edge now. Let us come out to your home to provide some troubleshooting to help you get your system back on track in no time.