How long should AC stay off between cycles

These days, air conditioners are an indispensable part of our everyday lives. There is no safe way to live without an air conditioner during the summer, especially when the heating records are high each year.

The ideal AC cycle is between 15 to 20 minutes. However, factors like size of the room, temperature, humidity and the air conditioner quality affects this cycle causing the ac to cycle longer and sometimes prematurely

Air Conditioner Cycles

Short Cycle

The short cycle occurs when the blown cold air or warm air does not travel far and returns immediately. It happens when there is something near the vents that blocks the air flow.

Temperature is measured at the suction port of an air conditioner to determine if the set temperature has been reached. It immediately vents warm or cold air.

As a result, the temperature sensor misperceives that the purpose has been accomplished and weakens or stops functioning.

The compressor of your air conditioner turns on and off several times and each time it turns on the system gets a little bit of cool air.

If the AC is short-cycling you are causing your air conditioner to turn on and off several times. This is causing the system to use more energy to cool your home. Also, if the AC continue to short-cycle, your compressor could fail.

Long Cycle

A long cycle means the air conditioner turns off less often and keeps running for a very long time.

This happens when the temperature of the the room is changing slowly. As a result, the air conditioner is on for a long time to meet the desired temperature.

The air conditioner will cool down the room for a little while, but if it has been running for a long time, it will start heating up and take a long time to cool down again. This means that the rooms temperature will fluctuate frequently and it will be hard to keep the temperature constant.

A constant running of the compressor in an air conditioner can lead to higher energy bills, which is not ideal for daily use.

A longer cycle causes the compressor to run non-stop, causing humidity and mold growth in the unit and increasing wear and tear on the AC unit.

Factors affecting AC Cycles


When the temperature is low, the air conditioner works less. When you feel the heat in your house them the A/C kicks in, which means the air conditioner works more.

If you live in a low temperature zone it is also important to take into account the time of day you need to cool the room. When the temperature reaches the set temperature, the unit will automatically start to cool the room.

If you need to cool the room for longer than this, you need to run the unit for longer to get to the desired temperature.

Size of Room

If the outdoor unit is installed in a narrow space or in a place where the air flow is poor, the heat generated by the outdoor unit is sucked in again and heat exchange does not work, which is called a short cycle.

When this happens, the compressor restarts and the outdoor fan stops working at the same time. This prevents the heat exchange between the indoor and outdoor units, which is why the temperature in the room gets higher.


Humidity is the single greatest factor contributing to uncomfortable indoor temperatures.

It reduces the amount of moisture the air conditioner needs to remove from the house. That reduces the number of times the air conditioner needs to come on.

It means the air conditioner will use less energy (or even none, depending on the amount of humidity). It means the air conditioner will last longer. It means your air conditioner will be happier.

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Dusts and Molds

Dust and mold can affect air conditioning system in several ways.

Pores in air conditioning system filters can become clogged or filled with dust and mold spores. The air conditioning system can become dirty and moldy if it is not maintained properly.

Moldy ducts can also affect the air conditioner’s performance which may cause irregular cycles in your air conditioner. Maintenance is essential to keep the system dust free and moldy free.

The only way to stop the growth of mold is to clean the area to remove the food source, water, for the mold. This can be done by vacuuming, mopping, wiping or scrubbing.

Outside temperature

The AC will need to run longer if the temperature outside is too high for the thermostat to match the set temperature. On the other hand, if the temperature is low, the AC will only work for a short time in order to reach any set temperatures.

The AC cycles too frequently, which can increase electric bills. Also, lower temperature conduct circulation, which can trigger air conditioner service. But, a properly designed air conditioning system for a car does not need to be an expensive luxury.

The number of electronic devices in a room

The number of electronic devices in a room does affect the number of cooling cycles of an air conditioner.

For example it is not necessary to turn on your air conditioner when you’re watching TV in the room, it’s a matter of preference. But please keep in mind that the air conditioner’s cycles go from heating to cooling or vice versa, depending on the temperature.

If there is a lot of electronic devices in the room, this will make the temperature change faster, which means air conditioner cycles will be faster, which means they will use more energy.

The time of day the air conditioner is being used

The time of the day has a lot to do with usage. If there are people at home during the day, the air conditioner will do more running to keep the people comfortable resulting of different AC cycles. Similarly, if there are no people at home during the night, there is no need to keep the air conditioner running.

People who sleep at night prefer to keep their air conditioners on to keep the house cool, while people who stay up at night or work night shifts prefer to keep their air conditioners off to save energy, but it is clear that both should pick a time to leave their air conditioners off to save energy.

AC appliance quality

The condition of your AC affects air conditioner cycles. If you have dirty air filters, dust and molds will surely block the vents and affect the air quality that may cause changes in your AC cycles.

The air conditioner age also affects its cycle since older ac tends to run longer cycle because of the failing compressor.


ACs should stay off for about 15 to 20 minutes between cycles. When ACs are left off unused for a long time, mold and mildew can start to grow, and that can be a serious problem for the health of the whole house it will also cause the AC to short cycle.

The actual number of cycles your AC goes through in a day depends on the outside temperature, the inside temperature, and other factors, such as how many people live in your home and the type of system you have.

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