Help! Why Does My Air Conditioner Keep Turning Off?

Close up view on air conditioner

When temperatures rise and the summer heat hits, it’s very important that your air conditioner is working at its optimal level. One of the most common AC problems our expert technicians at Michael Bonsby HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical hear is, “My air conditioner keeps turning off!”

If you’ve become frustrated by the way your air conditioner keeps randomly shutting off, you need to call us at 301-990-7970 for professional AC repair services.

Why Does My AC Keep Shutting Off?

A typical problem we see occurs when air conditioners short cycle, or frequently turn on and off again for no reason, often before the home has reached the set temperature. This can be both frustrating and inefficient.

There are a few common reasons your AC unit might be turning on and off:

AC Compressor Issues

The compressor is the engine of your AC unit’s refrigerant cycle and is responsible for generating the pressurized conditions under which the refrigerant absorbs and dissipates thermal energy. It is often a sealed component so that dust and debris cannot damage its internal moving parts.

But if it is subject to overheating or has become worn out, it may indicate this by shutting off frequently. An air conditioner’s compressor can break for several possible reasons, such as a blown fuse (commonly caused by the compressor tripping the breaker), a broken motor overload protector, or burnt wiring.

Solutions for Compressor Problems 

Troubleshooting an AC compressor on your own is, unfortunately, a little outside of most homeowners’ skill sets. Accurate inspections and testing require specific tools and training.

However, you may be able to assess whether or not the compressor is your source of frustration by checking the condenser fan and the blower assembly. These parts are easily accessed, and if the compressor is operating correctly, the fans should be in perfect motion when the AC system is running.

If you think you may have a broken AC compressor, contact Michael Bonsby HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical today!

Low Refrigerant Levels

The level of refrigerant in your AC needs to be consistent in order for it to work properly. When you scheduled AC installation, your unit was given a certain “charge,” but if the level of refrigerant falls below this, it can lead to inadequate cooling and energy inefficiency. It can even cause your AC to short cycle. As such, AC refrigerant leaks should be dealt with immediately.

How to Solve Low Refrigerant Levels

Regardless of what anyone ever tells you, refrigerant only ever “loses” charge due to leaking. Refrigerant doesn’t expire, nor does the operation of your system expend any amount of it. If you have low refrigerant, it means there’s a leak somewhere in the system, either within the refrigerant lines or via a cracked cylinder. This means you’re going to need to call for AC repair!

Frozen AC Coil

An air conditioning unit’s evaporator coil resides in the indoor air handler and is responsible for cooling the warm air drawn from the interior of your home. But if you have a clogged air filter or some other airflow issue, then frost can build up on your evaporator coils. This can cause your system to shut off frequently. If your air conditioner freezes, call us for repair services.

Prevent and Solve Frozen Coils 

The best means of dealing with frozen evaporator coils lies in preventing them altogether whenever possible. Much of the time, this is actually very simple to do. Routine AC maintenance, both professionally administered seasonal maintenance and things you can do on your own, will keep your system clean of debris. Airflow clogs are the leading cause of evaporator coil freezing, so be sure to:

  • Change your air filter every one to two months
  • Keep supply and return vents clean
  • Schedule AC maintenance every year

Electrical Problems

Your air conditioning system uses quite a few electrical systems, each one of which can experience loose connections, bad wiring, and failures. Electrical complications are among the most common reasons for an AC shutting down suddenly — these incidents are often accompanied by the air conditioner causing a breaker trip, though not always.

Solving Electrical Problems 

Absolutely never try to troubleshoot AC electrical problems on your own! At this point, you’re getting into some seriously risky stuff, and it won’t do to become injured just because you were curious about trying to reseat an electrical connection. You might try resetting your breaker to ensure this wasn’t a one-time event, but if the breaker trips again, it’s time to call an HVAC company for repair.

Schedule AC Repair in Howard & Montgomery County, MD

The above are just a few reasons that could cause your AC to keep shutting off. If you think your AC system is experiencing these or other issues, it is likely time to schedule repair. Remember — all AC repairs should be carried out by a professional.

Contact us today if you need AC repair services in DC, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, Clarksburg, or other nearby areas in Montgomery County, MD.

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