AC cycles on and off every 10 minutes

If your AC is cycling on and off every 10 minutes before it reaches your set temperature, there may be an issue with one of its components.

Air conditioners do not automatically turn off once your set temperature has been reached and continues to cycle to maintain this temperature.

However, if your air conditioner is cycling on and off every 10 minutes or even before the desired temperature that you set has been reached, there may be an issue with the size or your unit or the thermostat, temperature sensor, or one of the other components in the unit.

How air conditioner cycles work

In order for your air conditioner (AC) to cool down the air in your space and to effectively lower the temperature of the space, it works in cycles.

During each cycle, the hot air from your space is passed over a series of coils and refrigerant lines, after which excess heat and moisture is moved outside and cooler, less humid air is blown back into your room.

These cycles continue for as long as the air conditioner is on, once the air conditioner has reached your desired temperature, to maintain the room temperature that you have set for the space on the thermostat.

AC cycles on and off every 10 minutes

Therefore, your air conditioner cycling on and off is not something that should alarm you. Air conditioners cycle about once every hour on cooler days when there is not much of a difference between the outside temperature and your desired temperature.

On hotter days, your air conditioner may cycle more often to maintain your set desired temperature, because the thermostat and temperature sensors will pick up when the room temperature gets too hot and signal the air conditioner to start working again.

However, if your air conditioner is switching on and off every 10 minutes or if it is turning off before it reaches the desired temperature that you have set, this signifies that there may be a problem with your air conditioning unit.

The first thing that you should do in this case is to ensure that your room has not yet reached the desired temperature that you have set, using a room thermometer.

You should also ensure that you always set your air conditioner at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the outside temperature.

If you have ensured that the desired temperature is low enough and that this temperature has not yet been achieved in your space, there are a variety of issues that could be causing your air conditioner to short-cycle or turn on and off every 10 minutes, such as:

  • An oversized air conditioning unit
  • A faulty thermostat or temperature sensor
  • Other issues with components

Why an oversized AC would be cycling on and off every 10 minutes

Most air conditioner manufacturers have guidelines for the size of the space that the air conditioner can effectively work in.

If you have a new air conditioner and this air conditioner has been cycling on and off every 10 minutes every time since you installed the unit, it is most likely oversized for the space that you are using it in.

In this case, your air conditioner is cooling the air too fast, so the thermostat and temperature sensors are signalling it to stop working before it has completed a full cycle.

Although this may sound like a good thing, over time this can increase your electricity bill unnecessarily and can make your space feel clammy, since the air conditioner does not operate for long enough at a time to remove all the humidity from the air.

Why a faulty thermostat or temperature sensor may be to blame

If your thermostat is faulty or broken, or the internal thermostat or temperature sensor in your air conditioner is broken or installed incorrectly, this may be what is causing your unit to turn off after only 10 minutes of cycling.

If the thermostat and temperature sensors are not working as they should, they will misinform your air conditioner about when it should cycle on and off and, hence, it will turn off before it has completed a full cooling cycle.

Other issues that can cause an AC to cycle on and off every 10 minutes

Although an oversized unit and broken or incorrectly-placed thermostat or temperature sensor are often responsible for an air conditioner cycling on and off every 10 minutes, there are some other issues that could be causing this, including:

  • The air filters are dirty or clogged
  • The condenser coils are dirty
  • The refrigerant is leaking or the refrigerant levels are low
  • The compressor or the low pressure switch is malfunctioning

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