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Why AC Compressor Cycles On And Off Rapidly?

With the developing world and technologies, the comfort level is also increasing. Also, the desires are increasing to a great extent. Among these, the air conditioning system becoming one of the necessary things to meet the demands of our cosy lifestyle.

However, we never want to compromise if things are in favour; similarly is the case with vehicle’s choice and comfort level. The cars have the best and most well-developed air conditioning system; thus, this increases the demands and makes the vehicle much better than earlier because of the comfort zone. We would never want our proper functioning system to go down, but what if you face the frequents up and down in your AC compressor. No worries, our article will guide you to deal with the issue to know the exact reason why the AC compressor cycles on and off rapidly.

What Is AC Compressor?

The compressor is the central unit of the air conditioning system. It helps to maintain the refrigerant under high pressure before it pumps into the compressor, where the conversion of gas to liquid takes place. An AC compressor consists of a small pump that has a clutch in the front of it. It works with gas compression, letting it return to the local external temperature by dumping heat through a heat exchanger and expanding.The AC compressor generally pumps gaseous refrigerant from low pressure to high pressure. For smooth working, the AC compressor cycles fluctuate within fifteen minutes. If the AC compressor cycles face ups and downs rapidly, it means that there is something not correct or the AC compressor is facing some faults. Hence need to correct it as soon as possible.

How Often Should AC Compressor Cycle On And Off?

Ideally, the properly and well-functioning AC compressor should cycle for roughly fifteen to twenty minutes, two to three times per hour. However, one must expect a higher running time when the temperature is much higher. Any error in the compressor would result in elongation or rapidity of irregular cycles depending on the cause of that particular problem.

Why Do AC Compressor Cycles On And Off Rapidly?

Short cycling or the AC compressor faces fluctuation rapidly, is one of the most common air conditioning problems.

The AC compressor is cycling short due to various reasons like overheating, electrical problems due to a faulty or obstructed thermostat, dirty air filters, leaking refrigerant, and icy coils. Let’s discuss these few causes in detail.

1. Overheating

One reason our air conditioner starts up and then shuts down is overheating; thus, this causes short cycling thethe  of AC compressor. The overcharged system results in the liquid freon indulging into the compressor, causing its malfunctioning or damage. The dirty coils and low refrigerant will prevent the air conditioning system from absorbing heat. As a result, motors work even harder than necessary, causing the system to heat.

2. Electrical Problems

The air conditioning system may have electrical problems due to faulty or damaged thermostats, bad electrical connections, and circuit boards. A thermostat is a crucial component of an AC compressor. Thus, its malfunctioning is the most significant loss to the system; hence, the rapid on and off observed. The poor run capacitor is also responsible for this uneven functioning of the system; the start capacitor helps the unit system start, and the poor run capacitor prevents it from running smoothly.

3. Dirty Air Filters

The timely replacement or service of the air filter is necessary; otherwise, we will face clogged or dirty air filters that ruin our smooth working system. When the air filter is blocked by dirt, dust, and various microparticles, our system has to work harder than necessary, thus generating stress on the components that operate the air conditioning compressor.

4. Leaking Refrigerant

Leaking refrigerant or low refrigerant levels in the system may also result in the frequent on and off of the AC compressor. First of all, it would not cool properly. Secondly, to meet the cooling demand, it will work much harder than necessary; thus, adjacent components will also face stress, which can cause this unusual fluctuation of the AC compressor.

5. Icy Coils

The iced or dirty evaporator coil is one of the most common reasons behind the AC compressor turning on and off frequently. Such issues are not maintaining or preventing routine AC service performed on the air conditioning system. The evaporator coils are meant for taking out the hot air. Thus, it works more than necessary when it fails to perform its function, causing the other components to overheat and face rapid on and off the AC compressor.

How To Deal with AC Compressor Cycles Rapid Fluctuation?

There are specific ways to deal with such issues and to have smooth working. You need to follow the instruction properly under the guidance of professionalism, such as avoiding the air conditioning system from overheating through routine servicing. Electrical problems can be dealt with by a timely look over the wiring system, and the looseness and tightness need to change constantly. Dirty air filters or clogged filters need to clean regularly. There must be a proper check over the refrigerant. And also know whether the level is low or facing leakage due to malfunctioning.

Icy or dirty evaporator coils need timely maintenance. This prevents overheating and thus the rapid on and off cycles of the AC compressor.

Above all, we need to have proper maintenance with routine and timely servicing of the AC compressor. All this prevents facing the sudden or frequent on and off cycles. After all, no one wants to compromise their level of comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions :

So,here are some of the frequently asked questions about What Does It Mean When Your AC Compressor Kicks On And Off?, Why Does My AC Turn On And Off Every Few Seconds etc-

What Does It Mean When Your AC Compressor Kicks On And Off?

When your refrigerant is low,  compressor-pressure levels got affected. This triggers your compressor’s low-pressure control, when the pressure rises and triggers your AC to restart, this causes the short cycling.

How Do I Stop Short Cycling?

You can stop short cycling by –
  1. Check your air filter, a clogged air filter can cause a wide variety of air conditioning issues
  2. Check your thermostat placement and also the air conditioner’s refrigerant levels.
  3. Replace the low-pressure control switch.

Why Does My AC Turn On And Off Every Few Seconds?

 This is called “short cycling” because normally the AC has a regular on and off “cycle” that varies. Short cycling wears out the outside unit’s compressor.

What Could Be Wrong If The AC Compressor Clutch Cycles On And Off Rapidly Quizlet?

The cause of this condition is damaged compressor reed valve. The compressor is rapidly cycling on and off on a cycling clutch orifice tube air conditioning system. This issue can be caused by a low refrigerant charge.

Can Too Much Refrigerant Cause Short Cycling?

An air conditioner or heat pump system that has been over-charged can also show up the problem as short cycling, or rapid on-off cycling.


We hope you got your answer. Now whenever you are stuck with your AC compressor cycles on and off rapidly, you will able to deal. The only thing one must always keep in mind is not to panic. Also, while facing any problem it’s better to find alternatives rather than replacing the complete system of the vehicle.

And also, always remember precaution is better than cure; thus, try to have routine servicing to prevent these unusual and disruptive situations. Any doubts related to the topic, please comment below, and we’ll for sure answer them.