Differentiating 3 Common Air Conditioning Problems

The more information you can provide an HVAC technician, the easier time they'll have understanding your problem. While any skilled technician will still need to perform a full diagnosis, better information will give them a better starting point.

Unfortunately, describing symptoms for complex technical symptoms can be challenging if you're not an expert. This guide will go over three common symptoms caused by air conditioning failures so that you can better describe your problem and understand the repairs proposed by your contractor.

1. Short Cycling

Short cycling is one of the most common symptoms to experience on any HVAC system, including your home's central air conditioner. But what does "short cycling" refer to, and how can you recognize the warning signs? The good news is that this relatively technical-sounding term describes a fairly straightforward symptom.

A short cycling system turns on and off too rapidly. While there's no correct amount of time for your AC to run, normal behavior typically involves cycling a few times per hour. If your system quickly turns on and off again, especially before reaching your thermostat setpoint, it's probably short cycling. This symptom usually indicates an underlying issue, so it's not a behavior that you should ignore.

2. Can't Meet Demand

A system that can't meet your thermostat's setpoint demands will fail to keep up with your cooling needs. In many cases, these systems exhibit the opposite symptoms of a short cycling system. Instead of shutting off too quickly, your system will run continuously and fail to keep your home at the desired temperature.

If you notice your system seems to be running non-stop for an hour or more, there may be a problem. However, note that most AC systems can only reduce interior temperatures by about twenty degrees. If you keep your thermostat colder than this, there may not be a problem. On the other hand, a system that runs for too long with a more reasonable setpoint likely requires repairs.

3. Excessive Humidity

Excessive humidity can be a significant problem for any home. Your air conditioner should remove a substantial amount of humidity, helping keep your home cooler while protecting you from mold and other issues caused by high moisture levels. There may be an issue if your home's air is humid and sticky despite your AC running normally.

Excess humidity often results from short cycling, but other potential causes exist. For example, there may be a clog in your air conditioner's condensate system or a problem with your thermostat's fan settings. Since high humidity levels can ultimately cause some pretty severe problems (in addition to being uncomfortable), it's best to contact a professional once you notice an issue.

Contact an air conditioning repair technician for more information.