How to Troubleshoot a Home Air Conditioner That Cycles Too Frequently


Air conditioners that cycle on and off often are reacting to one or more of several problems. Some are "operator error," meaning the temperature has been set to a lower temperature that can be achieved. Since air conditioners only work on the settings you dial-in, they'll work to achieve those settings. This can lead to freezing the compressor unit, burning the fan motor, or other mechanical failures. Begin troubleshooting looking for the most simple cause and working to more elaborate problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Owner's manual
  • Vacuum
  • Vinegar or mild detergent
  • Check all doors and windows to see if any have been left open or ajar. When cool nights allow you to kick the air conditioning off, you may open windows to let fresh air circulate, forgetting to close them in the morning as the sun begins to warm the room. In addition, move any blinds or drapes away from the unit to allow the free flow of air. Obstructions such as these will cause the unit to cycle too much.

  • Check the temperature setting. If the thermostat has been set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the room's temperature is over 80 degrees, the unit will continue to run in almost uninterrupted cycles until the thermostat reads 68 degrees.

  • Read the owner/operator's manual to find the recommended square footage for the unit. If you're attempting to cool an area that exceeds the manufacturer's suggestions, the unit will cycle often in an attempt to achieve the thermostat setting.

  • Turn the air conditioner off. Remove the filter from the unit and vacuum it to remove dust and debris. Soak the filter in a mixture 1/2 cup of vinegar with the same amount of water for an hour. In the alternative, use a mild detergent. Allow it to dry completely before putting the filter back in the unit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't cook or use heat-producing appliances while operating the air conditioner during the warmest hours of the day -- usually between noon and 3 p.m.

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How Do Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners Work?

    A reverse-cycle air conditioner is not an air conditioner at all but a type of heater. Reverse-cycle air conditioners work just like...

  • How to Reset a Home AC Unit

    Resetting your home's air conditioning unit is a common troubleshooting procedure used to "reboot" the system much as you would a computer...

  • Problems With Ice in a Central Air Unit

    If you have a layer of ice in your central air conditioning unit, this indicates a serious problem. Ice can build up...

  • Parts of a Central Air Conditioner

    Central air conditioning revolutionized indoor living by allowing cool ambient indoor temperatures, regardless of the temperature outside. Air conditioning units use compressed...

  • Central Air Conditioners

    Central air conditioners cool homes by pulling hot air out of the house through a coil and exhausting it through the exterior...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!