How Compressor Short Cycling Affects Your Business

Monday, March 19th, 2018
Electrical services in Amarillo, TX

Two of the most important things you can do to keep your HVACR system running efficiently are regular inspections and preventative maintenance. Knowing what is wrong with your equipment and when to have inspections could make the difference between manageable costs and thousands of dollars in repairs. The following can help you understand how short cycling affects your business and how maintenance can help.

The basics of short cycling

Short cycling refers to your compressor turning off prematurely due to a mechanical failure. If this happens, the HVACR system is forced to restart slowly. This requires the compressor to stay on more often, increasing costs and decreasing efficiency. One or two short cycles isn’t a problem, but if this issue goes undiscovered, it could cause issues over time. If you regularly inspect and service your equipment, you can catch minor errors that could quickly turn into serious problems.

Short cycling alone is a problem, but is also evidence of a more serious issue. If you notice one of your compressors short cycling, it is critical that you thoroughly examine your equipment to identify the root cause of the problem. Do not rely on replacing components, because the issue could still cause your new compressor to short cycle. Replacements are sometimes necessary, but if you never fix the underlying problem, you will still have to deal with short cycling.

In addition to repair costs, a compressor that short cycles also consumes more energy. The constant shutdown and restart cycle increases energy consumption by 20 to 50 percent, which can cost you more on your bills monthly.

Common causes of short cycling

Low refrigerant-oil mixture

During every compression, the compressor releases a small amount of oil to keep it lubricated, which mixes with the refrigerant. When short cycling happens, the oil-refrigerant mixture is unbalanced. The oil is kept out of the system and does not lubricate the compressor. Eventually, this problem could result in bearing failures.

Dirty condenser and automatic high pressure reset

Another common issue that causes short cycling is dirty condensers. Condensers are responsible for regulating the temperature and pressures that keep your compressor cool. If it isn’t kept cool, your equipment could experience a high-pressure reset, leading to a potential series of short cycles.

High condenser discharge

If you keep your condenser in a confined area that recirculates the air, it will steadily experience a rise in temperature and pressure. This could result in a total HVACR system shutdown. You usually experience this if a condenser is stored in a basement or interior room. The reason the condenser shuts down is that the recirculated air is steadily warmed by the condenser and is not released anywhere.

Control differential is too small

If the pressure controller is set too tight, it can result in the compressor short cycling. You can usually catch this issue when it is on a normal cooling period and when the compressor switches to the low-pressure setting. Eventually, the compressor turns off until the pressure increases again. These cycles result in longer work periods to achieve peak operational speeds and increase your energy usage.

Lack of operation time delay

You need the minimum and maximum run times to keep your system working efficiently. However, you compressor also needs to be turned off for a certain amount of time. A proper time delay can prevent short cycling from occurring by stopping your system from using discharged air that is still circulating in the system. Doing this also allows the pressure controller to reset on its own.

Additional issues that affect your compressor

Another issue that companies face is the fact that their compressors are not conveniently located. Many place their compressors on roofs or in basements, which are not easily accessible. This also means that issues with short cycling may not be detected soon enough. You can experience the same problems if the compressors are located on the side of the building because they are placed on pads. Due to these odd locations, you must develop an inspection schedule to examine and test compressors. This ensures that your system is operating efficiently.

Professional HVACR services in Amarillo, Texas

If you need help with your compressors, contact Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, Texas today. Our team of skilled technicians can help your business keep an inspection and repair schedule, and can service your compressors if needed. You can call us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Commercial HVACR and Industrial services. We are available 24 hours a day to meet your needs.