When your air conditioner starts shutting off after only a few minutes, this could point to a few different potential causes, from faulty electrical circuits and components or clogged airways or drain pipes. Most of these problems can be quickly solved after they are correctly identified. Here's what could be causing the problem.

Overloaded or Faulty Circuit

An air conditioner requires a lot of power, and if anything is wrong with the circuit it runs on, it can cause your air conditioner to shut down quickly. One more obvious sign of this is if the breaker trips every time the air conditioner shuts off. If this happens, call a technician before you turn the air conditioner back on, as continuing to run the air conditioner on a circuit that keeps tripping could be dangerous.

Even if this isn't happening, if you suspect that the problem could be electrical, it's important to call for help quickly to avoid any damage to your air conditioner or to your home.

Dirty Air Filter

As your air filter collects dust and debris, it reduces airflow into your air conditioner. The more airflow is restricted, the harder your air conditioner has to work. Eventually, if the airflow is restricted too much, your air conditioner may begin to overheat and shut itself off as part of its safety mechanism to prevent damage. Check your air filter; if it's very dirty, it needs to be replaced. If it has been several months since the last time it was changed, it may need to be replaced regardless.

Clogged Condensate Drain

As your air conditioner cools the air, it pulls the moisture out of it. This moisture is then diverted out of your home by way of the condensate drain. If this drain gets clogged, water can back up into the drain pan. When this happens, your air conditioner will shut down automatically to prevent water damage. Your condensate drain can be unclogged like most other drains, and when this drain is clear, your air conditioner should resume working as normal. If you aren't able to clear it yourself, or if some part of the drain system looks broken, it may need to be fixed before you can use your air conditioner again.

Faulty Thermostat

In some cases, your air conditioner and all of its components might be working perfectly fine, but your thermostat could be the culprit. Whether it's a wiring issue or a programming issue, it could be that your thermostat isn't sending the right signals to your air conditioner.

If your thermostat runs on batteries, you can try replacing the batteries to see if this fixes the problem. If it doesn't, you can also try to reset it back to its original settings. If neither of these options works, you may need your thermostat replaced or the wiring fixed, so call a technician for repair.

To learn more, contact an air conditioning repair service.