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Why Does My Air Conditioner Compressor Turn on and Off?

If you’re in the midst of summer and your air conditioner compressor keeps cycling on and off, you’re experiencing short cycling. This is a common issue that affects countless households across the United States, particularly during the summer months. However, just because it happens daily does not mean it should be ignored.

A faulty air conditioner can pose several risks to your health and well-being, not to mention having a broken cooling system during the height of a scorching summer. Contact Air conditioning service in Windsor immediately once you start noticing short cycling.

Some of the most common reasons are:

Insufficient Refrigerant

A refrigerant is a coolant that circulates through your system, absorbing heat and cooling the air inside your home. The required compressor-pressure levels are affected when your refrigerant is low. This activates your compressor’s low-pressure control, causing it to shut down. Short cycling occurs when the pressure rises and causes your AC to restart.

A low refrigerant level indicates a leak because refrigerant is cycled throughout the compressor rather than burned off. Low refrigerant levels can also cause frozen coils. A professional Air conditioning repair in Windsor can locate your leak and help you avoid further problems or damage.

Thermostat Not Functioning

Your thermostat controls when the air conditioner turns on and off, any problem can easily lead to short cycling. If the wiring between the air conditioner and the thermostat is faulty, or if the thermostat is incorrectly calibrated, your air conditioner may begin to short cycle.

Your thermostat may not properly register the temperature inside your home, causing the air conditioner to start and repeatedly stop to reach the desired temperature.

A Faulty Compressor

The compressor is the component of the system that pushes refrigerant gas through your air conditioning system after it has been evaporated in the evaporator coil to absorb heat. The compressor also contributes to the air conditioner’s rhythm, allowing it to consistently move heat out of the home.
If the compressor is damaged, either by icing over (which can happen) or by liquid refrigerant entering the chamber, it can begin to malfunction and cause short cycling.

Inappropriate Size Of AC

An AC unit is too large for your home’s short cycles, as it cools your home too quickly while failing to dehumidify it properly. As a result, it will frequently shut down and restart. You’ll probably also notice that your home has hot and cold spots and higher energy bills.
If your air conditioner was recently installed, speak with the technicians who installed it to see what they can do to assist you. Request a calculation from qualified technicians to determine the proper-sized unit for your home.


Short cycling causes a slew of issues with your air conditioner. If you notice it doing so, contact us online, and one of our Affordable Heating & Cooling Inc. technicians will assess the situation. If you want your air conditioner to cool efficiently and last for years — sign up for our regular and annual maintenance plans under your budget.