No matter what month of the year, experiencing AC issues is never fun. That’s because you expect your appliances to work as intended whenever you need them. But, if your AC system keeps shutting off after 15 minutes, the issue could be caused by various problems. Why won’t your AC stay on, and what can you do to fix it?
6 Reasons Your AC Keeps Shutting Off
Some of the most common causes of short cycling include:
1. The thermostat is located in a bad place
If your thermostat is located under a supply vent, near a window, or next to an exterior door, then your thermostat may be tricking your HVAC unit into prematurely turning off. By calling a technician, you can have your thermostat relocated to a better portion of your home.
2. The air filter is too dirty
Air filters should be changed every one to two months depending on your home conditions – including if your home has any pets, the number of people that reside, and how often you clean. If your air filter becomes too dirty, it can restrict airflow and cause your evaporator coils to freeze over – causing the unit to shut off prematurely. If changing your air filter doesn’t resolve the issue, contact an HVAC technician.
3. Your AC unit has a refrigerant leak
Refrigerant leaks can be especially dangerous to you and your loved ones. If you suspect a leak, you should contact an AC technician immediately. Refrigerants like Freon can be harmful to humans, and only a certified professional should handle them.
4. The air conditioner is oversized
Oversized air conditioners cool your home very quickly and are also quick to shut off. This can seem like a good thing but is often associated with higher energy bills, increased humidity, and various hot and cold spots in your home. A technician can perform a test to see if your HVAC unit is larger than necessary.
If short cycling isn’t the issue, one or more parts of your air conditioner are likely failing. Failing parts can cause all sorts of issues — from creating noise to improperly cooling down your home. When your AC unit is turning on and shutting off after a few minutes, then the following pieces may need replacing:
5. Compressor failure
Your AC compressor compresses and delivers refrigerant to the condenser. It plays an integral part in your HVAC system, and — because of that — it experiences a lot of wear and tear. Feel the air coming from your compressor fan. If it feels lukewarm, the compressor isn’t functioning correctly. You’ll need to call an HVAC technician to replace the part.
6. AC capacitor failure
Also called a run capacitor, an AC capacitor is a small, cylindrical object that sends energy to the motor. This is what powers your air conditioning system. When your capacitor is wearing down or has broken, your HVAC system won’t be able to function normally. Go outside to your condenser unit and see if the fan is spinning. To see if the fan isn’t working, push on the fan using a stick or other long tool — keeping your hands safely out of the way — and see if the fan starts and keeps spinning on its own. If it does, your capacitor is faulty. If it doesn’t, and you hear a humming noise, the capacitor is completely broken. Call a technician to replace the part.
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