3 Potential Causes If Your Small Business' Central AC Shuts Off Too Quickly

Has the air conditioning unit for your small business started shutting off shortly after it turns on? This problem, called rapid cycling, can come from a variety of sources. But the fact that a small business has a system similar to a residential model means that the problem is often fairly easy to diagnose and fix even if you do need to call in an air conditioning repair services company.

Thermostat Issue

The first place to check is to make sure you have the thermostat set correctly. One of your workers could have changed the settings on purpose or accident and the settings could prevent the unit from turning on or cooling sufficiently.

If the settings look correct, check your records to see when you or maintenance last replaced the batteries. If you aren't sure when the replacement was last done, replace the batteries now. Most modern thermostats will show a battery warning but the thermostat can start to experience reading malfunctions before the warning comes on, which could send your system improper signals and make it seem like your system isn't working properly.

Broken Start Capacitor

Some air conditioner condensing units have a start capacitor, which is a bit like an electrical storage drive that helps provide an electricity boost when the compressor starts up. If the start capacitor breaks, the compressor won't receive that boost. The compressor might still start up but might have trouble continuing to run and will shut off, which creates the rapid cycling condition.

You can test the start capacitor if you own a multi-meter that has Ohms settings and have experience using the device. Turn off all power to your condensing unit, open up the access panel, and locate the capacitor. Unhook the wires and place the probes of the multi-meter to the terminals. Set the meter to the Ohms reading and check to make sure the output matches the acceptable range of readings that is printed on the side of the capacitor. If the numbers don't match, you need a new capacitor.

If that last paragraph made no sense to you whatsoever, leave the capacitor testing to the HVAC technician.

Compressor Issue

If you have a start capacitor that's working properly, or don't have one at all, the rapid cycling could trace back to the compressor itself. A mechanical or electrical failure within the compressor could cause the part to start then shut off quickly.

If you suspect a compressor issue, call a technician (like those at Daryl's Heating & Air Inc) for testing and compressor replacement, if needed.