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8 Reasons Why the AC Unit Turns On and Off Repeatedly

Hand Turn On Air Conditioner With Remote Control

Ever wondered why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly even though it’s properly connected? If you have an AC unit in your home, you might notice that it turns off frequently and starts back up again. This is obviously a problem because it can’t be running all the time without costing serious money.


This behavior can really slow down your energy bill, especially if you live in an area hot during the summer. Often, a faulty thermostat is to blame for an AC unit that keeps cycling on and off. However, there are other causes that may make it vulnerable to heat.

Here are a few reasons why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly:

  1. Most units will turn off if they sense a problem, such as if the room temperature falls below their set point.
  2. A clogged filter can cause the unit to turn on and off repeatedly.
  3. Faulty thermostat.
  4. A broken connection inside the circuit cavity of your unit can be a source of the problem.
  5. Check your fuses.

When your AC turns on and off, you should look into why it is doing so.

When it’s hot out, the AC turns on and off repeatedly. But what’s going on? There is an exciting way that it may be turning on and off. This article outlines the eight reasons why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly.

AC Unit Turning On and off Repeatedly

Air Conditioning Technician Cleaning Coil Cooler Air Conditioner

Seeing how often the AC unit turns on and off throughout the day is frustrating. Fortunately, there are ways we can fix this annoying problem in our homes so it never happens again. Here are the eight reasons why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly.

1. The Temperature Switch May Be Faulty

This is usually the cause of the AC unit turning on and off repeatedly. The temperature switch monitors the outdoor temperature and adjusts the air conditioning unit accordingly.

If the outdoor temperature changes, the AC unit will turn on and off. First, check for a problem with your thermostat to troubleshoot this issue. If necessary, replace it with a new one.

Then check if there is a problem with any electrical wires from your home to the AC unit. If necessary, install a new wire and reconnect it properly to avoid further issues with your home appliances.

2. The Outlet Is Loose, or the Cord Is Getting Frayed

The AC unit turns on and off repeatedly or does not turn on at all. This may be because the outlet is loose or the cord has frayed.

If your outlet is loose, you may notice it doesn’t have a solid connection to the wall. The wall might also be cracked or damaged somehow, which could cause your outlet to move around when you plug something into it.

If the outlet is loose, tighten it by holding it in place with a screwdriver and tightening it with an Allen wrench. You can also try using a different outlet. Call an electrician to repair your wall outlet if this does not work.

If the cord is frayed, cut it to ensure no wires are caught up in the fraying area. You may notice this if you’re using multiple appliances, such as a dryer and refrigerator in one room or an oven and stovetop in another room. This could damage the cord over time due to heat from these appliances.

3. Dirty Evaporator Coils

The dirty evaporator coils are the most common reason for the AC unit to turn off and then on repeatedly. When this happens, the refrigerant contacts the coil causing it to condense and drip onto the floor.

This results in a constant turning on and off of your air conditioner.

The solution is simple: Clean your evaporator coils with a quality coil cleaner or degreaser. You can also use a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner if you have one.

You should also ensure that you have enough refrigerant in your system by noting how much liquid has been added when you turn on your air conditioner. Add more liquid if needed.

The AC unit may need more than one refill before it returns to full working order.

4. The HVAC System Needs Checking

Another common reason the AC unit turns off and on repeatedly is that the air conditioner needs to be inspected. The AC unit may be malfunctioning. It could be dirty or have a problem with its components.

If you notice that your air conditioning unit is not working properly and causing you to turn it off and on repeatedly, check it out immediately.

You may need to replace your current unit if it’s old or if it’s been damaged by weather conditions or other factors.

You can also have your system repaired or replaced by a professional if you feel uncomfortable doing any repairs yourself.

5. There’s a Blockage in the Drain Line or Filter

If you often hear a loud hissing sound, it might be due to a drain line or filter blockage. Sometimes, the drain line gets clogged and prevents moisture from flowing properly into your unit.

The filter also gets blocked by hair, dirt, and other debris that collects in the system over time.

If so, remove the cover and check for debris around or inside the drain line. If you find anything, remove it with a tool or by hand.

Once you’ve cleaned out everything that could be causing the problem, replace your filter and make sure it is properly seated in its place.

6. A Dirty Condenser Fan Cover

A dirty condenser fan cover is the other most common reason your air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly. Not only does the condenser fan cover collect debris, but it also may accumulate moisture from condensation.

The moisture causes corrosion on the inside of the cover, which can cause a short circuit and burn out the unit.

You can test your unit for a dirt condenser fan cover by turning it on for a few minutes and then shutting it off.

If you see smoke or a burning smell coming from your unit, you have a problem with your cover. You should have it cleaned immediately to prevent further damage.

7. A Depfrost Cycle Could Be Taking Place

There are several reasons why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly. One of them is the defrost cycle. Regarding the air conditioner, there are two types of cycles; Heating and Cooling.

The heating cycle is when your unit generates heat to keep your house warm. The cooling cycle is when your unit generates cold air to cool your home.

The defrost cycle is a part of the heating and cooling cycles, but it has nothing to do with heating or cooling temperatures. It only uses a small amount of electricity until it finds out if there are any problems with the system.

If it detects any problems, it will turn off so that you won’t be exposed to any risks, such as frozen pipes and broken pipes that can cause water damage in your house.

When this happens, you will notice that the air conditioner turns on again immediately after some time without turning off automatically again after detecting problems with the system again.

This repeated turning on and off could be due to many reasons like blocked filters, dead batteries, or another problem with your unit

8. It Could Be a Safety Feature

It could be a safety feature if your air conditioner constantly turns off and on. If you leave the room for an extended period of time and an appliance or heater is turned off, the air conditioner will automatically kick on to cool down the room before someone gets hurt. This is called “Auto-Reversal.”

This feature can also be used for other reasons, such as preventing overheating in your home or office space. It prevents damage from the excessive heat that may result in fires or burns from hot surfaces in your home.

If power is lost, for example, in an electrical outage, the AC will automatically shut down to avoid fire or electrical shock.

The AC also has a safety feature called over-temperature protection. If this feature senses that the room temperature is too high, it will automatically turn off your air conditioner so as not to damage electronics and appliances in your home.


Repiar Service Technician Opening Lid Of Air Conditioner

No one likes to be stressed. It’s very unpleasant, unnatural, and makes you feel terrible. When any part of an automatic or mechanical system fails because of a defect or force majeure, it becomes very frustrating.

If you’ve found yourself frustrated with your air conditioner’s erratic behavior, chances are you’re among the 5 to 9 percent of Americans who experience AC unit issues on a given summer day. The root causes for these problems vary, but in many cases, it’s likely linked to moisture in the area surrounding the AC unit.

Now that you know the eight reasons why the AC unit turns on and off repeatedly, you can confidently fix and prevent this annoying issue. It could be a safety feature, a defrosting process, or even a dirty condenser fan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My AC Unit Keep Turning Off After a Few Seconds?

If your AC unit keeps turning off after a few seconds, you might have a problem with your thermostat setting. Here are some common reasons:

  1. The thermostat is set too low and turns off before the unit has enough time to cool down.
  2. The thermostat is set too high, so it tries to cool down too fast and causes the compressor to turn on and off repeatedly to maintain its temperature settings.
  3. A problem with your wiring or junction box prevents the AC from starting up properly (e.g., a loose connection or a blown fuse).

How Do I Know That My AC Is Short Cycling?

This occurs when your air conditioner turns off and on repeatedly, even though it’s not getting hot in the room. It’s not a serious problem.

Several issues cause short cycling:

  • The compressor is not working properly.
  • Someone has accidentally turned off the breaker.
  • The air filter has clogged up with debris.

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