For What Length of Time Does an Air Conditioner Cycle?

Here’s how to determine the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning equipment.

Heating and air conditioning equipment can be complicated to keep running well. You may not even know there’s a problem if you’ve just moved or have had a new system installed. However, A/C cycles can be a good indicator of whether your system is up to par.

An air conditioning cycle refers to the time the unit is running in order to cool your home. Unless your thermostat is set to “fan on,” there will be times when your A/C unit is still. You can consider any time your equipment is running to be part of a cycle.

Consider the following A/C cycling issues:

Short Cycles

These can point to big problems, especially when a cycle starts just a few minutes after the previous cycle has stopped. While this can be a sign your air conditioner has too much power for your property, chances are that isn’t the problem. Instead, call a qualified tech to check out your system. Sensors fail, freon leaks and coils become dirty, and they all can lead to units cycling in and out.

Long Cycles

Long cycles can be problematic too. They can be a sign your unit doesn’t have enough power for your property, either due to size or air leaks. Long cycles can also point to dirty filters or a failing thermostat.

Cycles That Are Just Right

An efficient air conditioner should cycle for roughly 20 minutes, unless the temperature inside your home is very high, or is much higher than the temperature programmed into your thermostat.