5 Reasons Your Air Conditioner Keeps Shutting Off

A man in a hot home adjusting a thermostat.

When the summer heat peaks, you expect your home to be a haven of cool air — so it can be frustrating when your air conditioner has different plans. If your AC keeps turning on and off, you’re dealing with what HVAC professionals call “short cycling.” This common issue not only interrupts your comfort but can also have long-term impacts on your air conditioning system’s efficiency and lifespan.

In this blog, we’ll review the five top reasons why your air conditioner keeps shutting off and provide actionable solutions to help you maintain a steady, comfortable temperature in your home.

What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling occurs when your air conditioner initiates a cooling cycle but then shuts down again quickly before completing the cycle, only to restart a short time later. This constant turning on and off not only strains your system but can also lead to increased electrical bills and reduced overall performance.

Are you currently dealing with this problem? You’re not the only one. Let’s go over some of the most likely reasons your air conditioner keeps shutting off.

1. Dirty Air Filters

One of the most straightforward reasons your air conditioner keeps shutting off is a dirty air filter. The air filter’s job is to collect dust, debris, and other airborne particles to prevent them from entering your AC system. Over time, these air filters can become clogged, drastically reducing airflow. When the airflow is impeded, your AC has to work harder and longer to circulate air through your home, often leading to overheating and an automatic shutdown to prevent damage.

Solution: Regularly check and replace your air filters every 30 to 60 days, especially during high-usage months.

2. Faulty Thermostat

If your AC keeps turning on and off, you could be dealing with a faulty thermostat. This device acts as the control center for your air conditioning system, telling it when to start and stop cooling based on the temperature settings you’ve selected. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, or if it’s incorrectly calibrated or poorly positioned (like in direct sunlight), it can misread indoor temperatures and frequently trigger your AC unit to turn on and off.

Solution: Since your thermostat could be one of the reasons your air conditioner keeps shutting off, it’s important to give it the attention it deserves. Verify the thermostat’s settings and placement. If issues persist, consider replacing it or moving it to a more suitable location.

3. Frozen Evaporator Coils

Evaporator coils play a crucial role in the heat exchange process, absorbing heat from the air inside your home. However, issues such as low refrigerant levels or continuous operation at lower temperatures can cause these coils to freeze up. When the coils are covered in ice, normal operation is disrupted, which can lead to the AC unit turning off temporarily.

Solution: If your AC keeps turning on and off, check for signs of ice on the coils and switch the AC off to let them thaw. To prevent future occurrences of a frozen evaporator coil, maintain your system regularly. You’ll also want to make sure the refrigerant levels are topped up, and leaks are repaired. A refrigerant leak is a serious issue, so if you suspect this issue, reach out to a professional technician as soon as possible for assistance.

4. Dirty Condenser Coils

Situated outside your home, the condenser coils expel the heat removed from your air by releasing it outside. When these coils are covered in dirt, leaves, and other debris, they can’t effectively release heat, which causes your system to overheat and shut down.

Solution: Keep the area around your condenser unit clean and clear of debris. Schedule annual maintenance with a professional to clean the condenser coils properly.

5. Oversized AC Unit

An oversized air conditioner will cool your home quickly but in an inefficient manner. This rapid cooling doesn’t allow for adequate dehumidification and results in frequent, short cycles of turning on and off, which can lead to excessive wear and tear.

Solution: If short cycling is a persistent issue, consult with an HVAC professional to determine if your AC unit is too large for your space. They might recommend adjusting your current system or replacing it with a correctly sized unit.

Is It Worth Repairing an Old Air Conditioner?

This depends on several factors, including the age of your unit, the nature of the problems it’s experiencing, and the cost of repairs compared to replacement. Generally, if your air conditioner is more than ten years old and is facing frequent and costly repairs, it might be more economical to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Keep Your Cool With RR Electric

If you’re experiencing problems with your air conditioner in Simi Valley, RR Electric is here to help. Our skilled technicians are experts in diagnosing and resolving all types of air conditioning issues; with our expertise, we guarantee that your system will work smoothly and efficiently. Whether it’s routine maintenance, a complex repair, or a full system replacement, we’ve got you covered.

Schedule Your Service Today!

If you’re tired of unpredictable cooling and frequent AC issues, it’s time to call in the experts. RR Electric is committed to providing top-notch air conditioning repair in Simi Valley, CA, and the surrounding areas.

Now that you know the potential reasons your air conditioner keeps shutting off, it’s time to take back your comfort. Don’t let a malfunctioning air conditioner disrupt your life. Contact RR Electric today to schedule an appointment and restore your home to the cool sanctuary you deserve!