A typical air conditioner (AC) alternates between on and off cycles. A short cycling AC has unusually short cycles — the AC barely stops before it starts running again. Below are some of the reasons you should worry if your AC is short cycling.
As an electromechanical system, your AC experiences more wear and tear when it runs than when it is dormant. Moving parts, such as the motors, belts, and fans, experience wear and tear due to friction and elevated temperature.
A short-cycling AC might turn off and on all the time, so the accumulated run times are long. The lengthy run times lead to elevated wear and tear of the system. The increased stress is dangerous for two main reasons. First, increased systems stress can lead to frequent breakdowns. Secondly, the AC might not last as long as it would have without the elevated stress.
The short cycling also leads to energy inefficiency. Most of the energy consumption of an AC occurs when the system is running. As mentioned above, short cycling leads to effectively long run times, which leads to more energy consumption.
Secondly, the AC motor draws more energy when it is starting than when it is running. Short cycling increases the frequency of startups, which means increased energy consumption.
Your AC needs two things to keep your house cool. First, the AC needs to lower the air temperature. Secondly, the AC needs to move the cold air to all parts of the house. The system needs some time to circulate the cold air to all parts of the house.
Thus, efficient cooling won't be possible if the AC is short cycling. A short cycling AC might shut down before some parts of the house receive their cold air. This can lead to uneven cooling, which leads to an uncomfortable indoor temperature.
In addition to lowering air temperature, the AC also extracts some moisture from the air to lower indoor humidity. This secondary function of your AC also helps make your home comfortable. Your skin will feel clammy, and you might not feel comfortable with low temperatures if the humidity is high.
Unfortunately, the AC needs to run for some time to extract adequate moisture from the air. With short cycling, the AC won't run long enough to control your humidity. Thus, you might have to suffer the effects of high humidity.
AC short cycling has myriad causes. Consult an AC technician to diagnose the malfunction and get the air conditioning repair you need.