How Often Should My Air Conditioner Cycle

When it’s time for your air conditioner to cycle, you’ll need to decide what type of cycling is best for your home. There are actually two types of cycling. One is continuous, and another is variable-cycle. Continuous air conditioning cycles on and off every few minutes to maintain the desired temperature. 

How Often Should My Air Conditioner Cycle

Variable-cycle operates at a lower temperature (typically 68 degrees) until the outside temperature drops below that point; then, it will switch to full blast cooling mode. When deciding which type of cycling is right for you, consider how often should your air conditioner cycle and how often your home needs cooling or heating while operating in each mode.

What is Air Conditioner Cycle?

In the past, most homes used air conditioning only when it was hot outside. Consequently, continuous cycles were all that was needed. When built into a central system (commonly known as a mini-split), an air conditioner is designed for cycling on and off at a low rate of speed for hours at a time, with minimal effect on the system’s performance.

Continuous cycles make it possible to set higher temperatures for a longer period of time. This is more efficient when cooling your home in the winter months.

However, for those who use their central air conditioner occasionally throughout the year, a variable cycle is the way to go instead of constantly running at full speed while waiting for a warm day. Operating at a lower temperature saves energy while allowing for more efficient heating when needed.

How Air Conditioner Cycle Works?

The air conditioner cycling is the main function of an electronic thermostat in your central air conditioning system. This function provides you with comfortable and efficient cooling by adjusting the temperature setting on your air conditioning unit. Ceiling fans turn on when the A/C turns off because they use only a fraction of energy but provide a similar cooling effect.

When the thermostat calls for A/C to turn on, it tells the compressor (the outdoor unit of your central air conditioning system) to start running and pressurize the lines with refrigerant. The freon in these lines will be blown into the condenser coils outside your home, where the refrigerant line connects to your central air conditioning system.

The Attic Insulation and Air Conditioning

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or have an old one that needs replacing, chances are you’ve come across some terms that refer to how an air conditioning system works.

The Attic Insulation And Air Conditioning 1

There are two distinct types of the cooling cycle: Continuous Cycle systems and Variable Cycles (or Demand) systems. Of the two, Continuous Cycle air conditioning systems are more common in residential applications; however, there is a growing trend toward Demand for air conditioning.

The Basic Differences Between the Two Air Conditioner Cycles

The main difference between a continuous and variable cycle is how often the system cools your home. In addition, a variable cycle system has the added benefit of consuming less electricity than its continuous cycle counterpart.

A continuous air conditioner works 24/7 to keep your home temperature as constant as possible, regardless of what kind of weather you’re experiencing outside. An air conditioning unit with a variable cycle will only operate when needed (i.e., when the temperature in your home rises).

The Advantages of Variable Cycle Over Continuous Are

  • The main advantage of a variable cycle air conditioner is that it will use less energy than a continuous cycle, causing lower monthly electricity costs.
  • In addition, many experts agree that using a variable cycle will add an average of six years to the lifespan of your air conditioner.
  • Continuous cycle systems are more cost-effective for heavily insulated homes.
  • If you have well-insulated walls and windows, your home will be warmer in the summer months and colder in the winter months.
  • A continuous cycle is better suited to temperature variations such as these.

The Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage of a variable cycle air conditioning unit is that your cooling costs fluctuate based on how often your system cycles.
  • A continuous air conditioner will be recommended over a variable one if you have extremely hot summers.
  • Continuous air conditioners are better suited to homes with many open windows and doors that let hot summer air in.
  • A variable cycle is also better suited for homes where the occupants only use certain rooms during the day, such as an office or bedroom.
  • A variable cycle cooling system has been better at keeping a home cool on hot summer days and warming it up again when the weather gets cold.

How Long Should Your Ac Cycle Last?

Air conditioning systems have a limited life expectancy. The main components of an air conditioner that wear out include the compressor and the evaporator coil. Most compressors last between 8-12 years, while the evaporators last for about 15-20 years. To determine how long your system will continue to run each year, divide the age of your system by 20.

So if you have a 15-year-old air conditioner, it should last approximately three years. If you install a new unit, consult with local heating and cooling contractors and ask them how long the compressor in your central air conditioning system will likely last. A good HVAC technician should know the life expectancy of a new unit they sell. If you want to maximize your AC’s lifespan, there are several things that you can do.

6 Tips For Maximizing Air Conditioner Lifespan

 Use a Central  Air Conditioner
  • Clean your indoor coil at least once yearly with a soft brush or soap and water to remove dust, dirt, and other debris from the coil’s surface.
  • Replace your air filters every three months when they become clogged with dust. Dirty air filters can cause your AC unit to work harder, causing it to wear out faster.
  • Change the air filters in your HVAC system when you see that they are getting less effective at keeping dust particles out of your home’s air supply.
  • HVAC units take a lot of abuse from the sun and extreme weather, so make sure that trained technicians properly inspect them at least once every year.
  • If you have a central air conditioning system, ensure that it’s vented to the outdoors and that the vents are regularly inspected.
  • While you can’t do anything about how much energy your home consumes or the weather outside, you can give your AC an extra boost toward longevity by taking care of it properly!
Clean Your Indoor Coil


You now know how often you should cycle your air conditioner. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of cycling, or if you want us to help set up routine maintenance!

We are eager and ready to answer any questions that may arise from this; how often should my air conditioner cycle? So let’s work together to ensure you have the best experience possible with your AC units by following these simple guidelines.

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