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Does your General Electric (GE) air conditioner keep shutting off after a few minutes of running? Or does it keep turning on and off repeatedly? We know how frustrating this can be, so we researched the reasons why this is happening, and here's what came up:
When your GE air conditioner keeps shutting off, it means:
- Compressor is overheating
- Filters are dirty
- Frozen coils
- Refrigerant is low
- Faulty thermostat
Now that you know the reasons, you might be wondering if you can troubleshoot the air conditioner yourself. Yes, you can! Continue reading as we guide you through the troubleshooting steps.
Why Does My Air Conditioner Turn Off By Itself?
General Electric is a brand known worldwide as one of the leaders in modern home appliances, including air conditioners. It built its name on quality and reliable home products. However, it can be prone to errors and poor performance if the unit does not receive the recommended yearly maintenance.
If your GE air conditioner keeps shutting off, there are many related reasons. For instance, an overheating compressor can be due to frozen coils. Frozen coils can be due to refrigerant leaks, and leaks can lead to the unit overheating.
Let's break it down to help you understand it better. Below are the plausible reasons why an air conditioner keeps shutting off. We've also added troubleshooting tips you can follow before you decide to call for service.
Compressor Is Overheating
A compressor could overheat for several reasons. First, if the air filters are dirty. The second is if the coils are frozen. And lastly, if the compressor has a mechanical problem. Other telltale signs that a compressor is about to break down are:
- a clicking or chattering sound
- air conditioner blowing warm air
- refrigerant leaks
Additionally, a sign of a faulty compressor is if the circuit breaker trips repeatedly. This problem happens because the unit is overheating and is drawing back energy into the breaker. This can be dangerous because it is a fire risk.
What to do:
Clean dust and dirt from filters and replace them if needed. You can check this article for more detailed steps: "How To Clean The Filter On Your Central AC."
A professional aircon technician should properly diagnose any sign of a compressor problem. This problem requires a more technical procedure using special tools. Diagnosis may include checking the suction and discharge pressure, checking the discharge line temperature, and performing a compressor valve test.
Frozen coils are one of the main reasons an air conditioner overheats. The ice blocks airflow in and out of the unit, causing the compressor and other components to work harder. When the system works harder, it eventually stresses the mechanism. The unit can overheat, causing the air conditioner to shut off.
What to do:
When the air conditioner is freezing up, GE manuals suggest switching the thermostat settings to "High Fan" or "High Cool," and putting it at the highest temperature. This will encourage airflow and melt the ice in the frozen components.
Alternatively, you can turn the air conditioner unit off for several hours and let it defrost manually.
Refrigerant Is Low
Low refrigerant levels often mean there is a leak. The usual indicators are water pooling under the unit with a thin oily film on top of the pool of water, a low hissing sound, and frozen coils.
You can tell you have a low refrigerant level if the air conditioner is not cooling the room as it used to. Low refrigerants can cause an air conditioner to shut off because it could lead to overheating.
What to do:
If you suspect you have a refrigerant leak, it is best not to continue using the air conditioner to avoid harming the components further. Call a professional technician immediately to resolve the problem. The technician will diagnose other underlying causes, seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
A faulty thermostat can cause an air conditioner to turn on and off repeatedly or shut it off completely. The thermostat controls the heating and cooling mode settings. If it disconnects from the system computer, it can cause fluctuations in the power or control settings.
What to do:
Here are several things you can do to put the reliability back in your thermostat:
- Replace with a new set of batteries
- Dust the inside part of the thermostat with a soft brush to make sure the sensors are clear of obstructions
- Check if the settings are correct
- Calibrate the thermostat
If the thermostat still disconnects and keeps changing settings on its own, call a technician to diagnose if it's time to purchase a new thermostat.
Filters Are Dirty
Filter cleaning is one of the most straightforward solutions to common aircon problems, but surprisingly, also the most neglected thing to do. As discussed above, dirty filters block the airflow, causing poor cooling performance and overheating.
What to do:
Gently clean the filter with the vacuum's brush attachment. Wash it with water and mild soap if the filter is too dirty. You can use a mixture of baking soda and water for rinsing to eliminate odor. Dry the filter completely before returning to the unit.
GE recommends cleaning the filter every 30 days or every 250 hours of usage. For air conditioner models with replaceable filters, change them as indicated in the product manual. For GE products, you can order filter replacements online. Just make sure it's compatible with your aircon model.
Below is an example of an air conditioner filter.
What Does Short Cycle Mean On AC Unit?
Short cycling is another example of an air conditioner shutting on and off. To understand this better, let's look at how the compressor works.
An air conditioner's compressor runs until it reaches the desired temperature set on the thermostat. The system then turns the compressor down. This process is referred to as one cycle, and it will typically run for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Now, it is called a short cycle when the compressor stops running mid-way before it reaches the temperature set on the thermostat.
Why is a short cycle damaging to the unit? It accelerates the wear and tear of the compressor, which is one of the most crucial parts of an air conditioner. It is also very expensive to replace. In many cases, if the compressor breaks down, owners are compelled just to purchase a new air conditioner unit.
Short cycling can result from frozen coils, clogged filters, low refrigerants, improperly sized air conditioners, and miscalibrated thermostats. Resolving the issues discussed above can also prevent the compressor from short cycling.
How Do I Reset My GE Air Conditioner?
Resetting an air conditioner restores it to its default setting. This procedure usually resolves minor issues on the thermostat and electrical connections. A simple reset is a necessary process. It's something you can do yourself by following a few simple procedures:
- Start by completely draining the power of the air conditioner. Turn the thermostat and the power button off.
- Unplug the air conditioner from the electrical socket.
- Go to the main power source (circuit breaker) and reset it by switching it off and turning it back on after a few seconds.
- Plug the air conditioner back into the electrical socket.
- Find the reset button and press it for five seconds before releasing.
- Wait for a minimum of 10 minutes before turning on the power.
Allow time for the system to restore before you fix the thermostat to the desired setting. If the unit still shuts off even after a power reset, it's an indicator that it's time to call a technician.
The reset button varies for every GE aircon model. You can read more about it here: "How To Reset A GE Air Conditioner."
How Do I Contact GE?
If you want to ask about GE services and repairs, you can go to the GE website to see their complete list of services. Get pricing information to make better decisions before booking and scheduling a repair service.
If you lost your product manual and need information about your air conditioner, you can go to the GE website and check the Service and Support page. You can enter information about your product and download a copy of the user manual, care instructions, and installation guide.
An air conditioner that keeps shutting off can have a simple (cleaning the air filters) or complex and costly (buying a new compressor) solution. If basic troubleshooting doesn't work, it's always best to call GE services and repairs to have a professional technician repair the unit.
We hope we were able to give you helpful information on why your GE air conditioner keeps shutting off. Check out our other great articles below to learn more about troubleshooting GE products.