AC Keeps Turning On and Off: 7 Reasons and How to Fix It

1000+ Reviews
All our happy customers can’t be wrong! Let us take care of your home cleaning need.
Book now
What's in the article?
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

The air conditioner has made home life more comfortable, which is why we homeowners take great care in maintaining it. However, even the most experienced homeowners would find themselves in frustrating situations when their air conditioner turns on and off in what is called short cycling.

Whether it is an indoor or outdoor AC unit turning on and off, a variety of issues can cause problems in your cooling system. Here are 7 of the most common reasons why AC units malfunction, and how to fix them.

Causes of Aircon Short Cycling

Reason #1: Thermostat Issues

Placing your thermostat in a warmer or cooler place than the rest of the room can give you inaccurate readings. The air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly to make up for the imbalance in the thermostat reading. Most likely, the issue is not that your AC won’t stay on, but the unit is trying to adjust the temperature of the room to match the one set on the thermostat.

Reason #2: Refrigerant Leak

If your AC turns on and shuts off repeatedly, it may be because of a leak as low refrigerant levels cause the compressor to malfunction with the low pressure. When the unit is off, the pressure builds up again, the compressor powers up, and the cycle continues.

Refrigerants in AC units don’t evaporate or run out easily unless there’s a leak. So if you notice your refrigerant levels are low frequently, you might want to contact us at Luce Aircon services to check your unit for any cracks or holes.

Reason #3: Restricted Airflow

When airflow is restricted, the warm and cool air cannot properly circulate enough to cool down your room. The AC then becomes faulty and cannot perform as intended, causing the unit to short cycle. Airflow issues may be caused by clogged drain pipes, frozen compressor coils, dirty air filters, and more.

Reason #4: Dirty Air Filter, Evaporator Coils, or Condenser Coils

A dirty or clogged air filter, evaporator coil, or condenser coil can restrict airflow and cause problems with cooling the air. If your air conditioner turns on and shuts off repeatedly, it might be due to frozen condenser coils that get icy. The AC unit shuts off when the ice is thick, only to turn back on when the ice melts.

Reason #5: Electrical Problems and Capacitor Failure

With new and cleaned units, the issue may lie with the electrical wiring which can cause air conditioner short cycling. The internal circuit boards may be faulty, or there might be a misconnection in the wiring of your unit and thermostat.

Along with electrical problems, the capacitor may have been overloaded. A faulty capacitor cannot provide your AC unit with the initial power boost it needs to function properly. 

Reason #6: Compressor Failure

Compressor failure can sometimes be caused by a refrigerant leak, and is damaging to your air conditioner. Your AC compressor may be starting to overheat, break down, or malfunction, which is causing your unit to shut off repeatedly. Air conditioner compressors can become faulty from regular wear and tear as well.

Reason #7: Oversized Air Conditioner

Is this problem happening to your newly installed unit? It may not be a problem with the components of your air conditioner at all, but rather with an oversized air conditioner unit in relation to the size of your room.

A higher horsepower may cool down your space a lot faster, but is a factor if your AC keeps turning on and off. Your air conditioner might be too big for your room, as the AC quickly cools down the room, and then shuts off once it reaches the desired temperature only to turn back on when the room gets warm.

Troubleshooting Guide

Tip #1: Check the Thermostat

Check if your thermostat is functioning well. The thermostat is the main component of your entire AC unit that controls the temperature and fan, and a faulty thermostat provides inaccurate temperature readings that can mess up the cooling system.‍

Check if the batteries are running out, or if the thermostat itself has started to fail. Your AC issues may be fixed with something as simple as changing the batteries on your thermostat or remote control.

Tip #2: Schedule Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping up to date with your scheduled professional cleaning and maintenance generally upkeeps the condition of your air conditioning unit. Our professional services at Luce Aircon are catered to different models and brands of air conditioning systems across Singapore, so you can be sure we'll get your air conditioner running smoothly!

Professional cleaning services are not only essential in aircon upkeep, but they can save you from further damage that may be costly. For more serious issues, our Luce Aircon HVAC professionals will be able to diagnose and repair the problem properly, allowing you to enjoy your AC unit longer.

Tip #3: Clean Your Indoor and Outdoor Air Conditioning System

Besides professional cleaning, there are ways you can maintain your AC system at home. You can clean the air filters, coils, and outside unit of your air conditioning system with some soap, water, and a vacuum cleaner or compressed air. Doing so decreases the chances of short cycling your aircon.

Make sure to clean your air filter with a little soap and water at least twice a week to prevent issues with your AC unit. Don't forget to clean your evaporator coils as well with a vacuum cleaner, and clean dirty condenser coils. To clean your condenser coils the convenient way, avail our AC system cleaning services that will refresh your condenser coils to their original state.​​

Tip #4: Check Your Capacitor and Circuit Boards

Have an electrician check your electrical connections if you suspect the problem is with your wiring. You may, however, flip any tripped breakers back to their original position, but this is often a short-term solution. You may also need to replace the capacitor if you notice your air conditioner turns on and off right away after a few seconds.

Tip #5: Match Your Air Conditioner to Your Room Size

Consider moving the unit to a larger room, or replacing the unit with a smaller one. You can work with your maintenance provider to assess the proper horsepower you’ll need for the size of your room.

Turn to the Aircon Repair Experts

Luce Aircon consists of seasoned professionals who will be with you through your entire AC journey, from installation and cleaning, to maintenance and repair. As a trusted aircon servicing company in Singapore, we cater to all types of aircon units across different brands.

Check out our article on aircon won't shut off.

1000+ Reviews
All our happy customers can’t be wrong! Let us take care of your home cleaning need.
Book now
You subscribed successfully!
Welcome to Luce community! You can cancel your subscription at any time
by clicking on the Unsubscribe link in every newsletter.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Related articles
Aircon Servicing
5 Signs of AC Condenser Leak and How to Fix It
Aircon Servicing
AC Compressor Not Turning On: 5 Causes and Prevention Tips
Aircon Servicing
AC Electrical Problems: Common Issues and Troubleshooting Them
Aircon Servicing
AC Fan Not Spinning: 7 Causes and How to Fix It
Aircon Servicing
Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Pee?
Scroll to Top
Select Booking Option