Short Cycling in HVAC

Short Cycling in HVACDoes your HVAC system turn on and off more frequently than normal? It could be having a short cycling problem. Schedule an inspection with an HVAC contractor to rectify this excessive stopping and starting that adds wear to your unit’s compressor while depriving your home of the desired cooling comfort.

Allowing the system to continue operating in that faulty condition will come at a higher price later. That’s why you need a quick solution. But first, it’s vital to understand why this problem occurs so you can take steps to limit the concern.

Here’s an in-depth look at short cycling, its causes, solutions, and preventive measures.

What is Short Cycling

When you want to warm your home, first, you set the desired temperature on the thermostat. The system produces heat, then turns off after reaching the desired temperature. It stays off for some time and then the system turns on again and produces more heat. This is called a cycle. A typical cycle lasts about 15 -20 minutes depending on the weather and set temperature, and the unit keeps cycling like this until it is turned off.

Short cycling occurs when the heat turns on and off repeatedly before it’s normal cycle time. The shorter the period, the harder the HVAC unit will need to work to maintain optimum temperature. That will hike your power bill and strain the system, which can shorten its life.

At one point, you’ll need to call an HVAC repair professional. But before that, see if you can identify the cause of the problem. Below are common causes of short cycling.

What Causes Short Cycling in HVAC

There are several reasons why an HVAC unit experiences short cycling. These include;

  • Oversized HVAC unit. If the comfort system is too powerful for your house, it will take less time to heat your home. Hence, running on short cycles. To solve this problem, use the correct HVAC size for your home.
  • Low refrigerant. Low refrigerant issues arise due to a leak. Such a situation makes the unit work harder, which can lead to malfunction.
  • Dirty air filter. A dirty air filter prevents proper air flow as a result, the system overheats and cycles off.
  • Problem with thermostat. Your thermostat may be mis-calibrated, resulting in inaccurate temperature reading. It could also be next to an air vent or a heat source to close to the thermostat which creates false temperature readings.

What to Do When You Have a Short Cycling HVAC

Turn off the unit once you notice short cycling lasting less than 5-10 minutes between on and off cycles Taking such a step protects the unit from further damage. But since you need the system running back again, start working on a solution. First, check whether the air filter is clogged. Here, you can either clean or replace it.

Check whether the thermostat is placed next to any heat source. Then turn the HVAC unit on again to see if it works. If it doesn’t, there could be a bigger problem. Don’t try a DIY HVAC repair if you don’t understand the unit. It could make things worse. Get HVAC repair services from a professional. Leave the system off until a qualified technician comes to take a look.

How to Prevent Short Cycling in HVAC

There are many reasons an HVAC system can have short cycling. But you can always minimize such issues through regular maintenance. Having a maintenance agreement with residential HVAC contractors can help avoid the last-minute rush. Such a plan will cost you less and eliminate inconveniences resulting from short cycling.

If you need an HVAC tune-up to limit instances of short cycling, don’t hesitate to call us. We provide 24-hour services for HVAC repair and maintenance.

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