How long should ac stay off between cycles

A heatwave is that one thing we all hate in the USA. It just ruins the peace of your day and makes everything uncomfortable. However, air conditioners are a great relief during the heatwave and throughout the summers.

They provide you a relaxing and calm environment where you can spend your time with peace and comfort. As you know that the air conditioner season is coming up, there has been an increasing number of questions regarding how long should air conditioner stay off between cycles?

This is a crucial question that will help you keep your air conditioner work well & last longer. 

In this article, we will take a look at everything you need to know about air conditioner cycles and how long your AC should stay off between those cycles.

What is an air conditioner cycle?

The cycle of an air conditioner is when it consumes the drops the temperature of the room to the temperature set on the thermostat.

If the temperature set on the thermostat is significantly lower, then the compressor of the air conditioner will have to run for more time and drop the temperature. This way, the cycle time will be much more.

If the temperature set on the thermostat is higher, then the compressor of the air conditioner will have to work for a short time to drop the temperature. This way, the cycle time of the air conditioner will be short.

Air conditioner cycle issues never to ignore

Air conditioner cycle issues never to ignore

The cycle time of your conditioner is a very important factor that you should not ignore. Here are some common problems that people face with their air conditioner time cycle.

1. Short cycle

Short cycle means that your air conditioner unit is turning ON & OFF frequently. It completes one cycle, turns off, and then turns on again immediately after a few minutes. This is called a short time cycle.

In a short time cycle, the air conditioner runs for just 10 minutes, turns off for a few minutes, and then starts running again for just 10 minutes. It’s like turning on & off again and again in an hour. When the AC unit repeatedly turns on & off this frequently then it is likely to get broken. The increased pressure on the compressor and the excessive wear & tear of different parts will permanently damage the AC unit.

If your air conditioner turns off by itself none stop, please refer to our previous guide to troubleshoot.

Reasons behind short cycle

Here are the reasons why your AC is running short cycles:

  • It’s too Large for Your Room

If you have a small or medium-sized room but your AC unit is just too much large then it is the reason behind the short cycle. An air conditioner bigger than your need means it will produce more cooling and drop the temperature of the room quickly. This way it will have to turn itself on & off more frequently which will lead to wear & tear of its parts and damage to the compressor.

  • Technical Errors

Several technical errors like thermostat problems, blockages, unclean coils, & electrical problems can also lead to short cycles.

2. Long Cycles

A long cycle means that the air conditioner just keeps running for a very long time and stops rarely in between. Long cycles are also not good for you because when the air conditioner will keep running for a longer time, it will consume more energy and eventually your utility bill will spark up.

Reasons behind long cycles

Here are the common reasons behind the cycles:

  • Your AC is too Small

If your air conditioner is too small for your room/home then it is also the reason behind those long cycles. When you will have a big room & smaller AC then the AC will have to run longer to drop the temperature of the room to the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat.

  • Outside Temperature is Too High

If the weather is too hot & the temperature outside is too high (more than 95 °F) then it also leads to long cycles. Higher temperatures outside mean your AC will have to run longer to bring the temperature of the room to the point you have set on the thermostat.

  • Technical Problems

A lot of technical problems like low refrigerant levels and unclean filters also cause the AC to perform long cycles.

Final opinion – how long should AC stay off between the cycles?

how long should air conditioner stay off between cycles

From all the discussion above, we learned that neither short cycles nor long cycles are good for your air conditioner.

So what is the best cycle for your air conditioner? How long your air conditioner should run? How long should your AC stay off between the cycles?

Well, your air conditioner should run for 15 to 20 minutes (2-3 times per hour) in a cycle & stop for at least 7 to 10 minutes between the cycles.

If the air conditioner is stopping for less than 7 minutes between the cycles, then it means that it is performing short cycles.

Similarly, if your air conditioner is not stopping and just keeps on running then it means that it is going through long cycles.

Factors affecting time cycles of AC

Factors affecting time cycles of AC

Here are some important factors that affect the time cycle of your AC:

1. The temperature outside

If the temperature outside is too high then the AC will have to run longer to match the temperature set on the thermostat. But if the temperature is lower, the AC will work for less time to match the temperature set on the thermostat.

2. Size of AC & room

If your room is too big and the AC is small then it will have to work for a longer time to match the temperature set on the thermostat. But if the room is too small and the AC is too big then it will match the temperature set on the thermostat within a short time and hence exhibit short cycles.

3. Temperature set on thermostat

If you have set a lower temperature on the thermostat, then the AC will run for a longer time to cool down the room and bring its temperature equal to the temperature set on the thermostat. But if you have set a higher temperature on the thermostat then your AC will work for a shorter time to match the temperature of your room equal to the temperature set on the thermostat.

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