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What Is Short Cycling? How Do You Prevent It?

Have you noticed a change in the way your HVAC equipment operates? Does it seem like your furnace or air conditioner turns on and off all the time? It might be short cycling.

Short cycling happens when a furnace or air conditioner frequently cycles through its operation and terminates prematurely.  Something is interrupting the “normal” cycle and is causing the HVAC system to operate more frequently than it needs to keep your home properly conditioned. If left, short cycling will cause system burnout and failure before its time.What Is Short Cycling? How Do You Prevent It?

There are several causes:

An oversized system 

Have you noticed short cycling from the moment your new equipment was installed? It could be the last HVAC company you worked with installed an oversized heating and cooling system. If your HVAC system is too big for your house, it will cause the system to short cycle. It heats or cools certain parts of your home too quickly, signaling it’s completed the cycle. Other parts of your home struggle to maintain proper temperatures as the heating and cooling equipment cycle on and off rapidly throughout the day. The only way to correct this problem is to install a perfectly sized HVAC system.

Dirty air filters

HVAC companies will recommend changing out your air filter regularly for good reason. When an air filter is dirty, air can’t get through. That can impede the functionality of the ventilation system. If the air supply is obstructed, your heating and cooling equipment have to work harder to complete their jobs. If you haven’t checked your filter in a while, do it now.

Thermostat malfunction

Where is your thermostat located? Short cycling often happens if a thermostat is placed in direct sunlight and heats up quickly as sunshine flows in. It can also occur if placed too close to warmer rooms in your home, such as the kitchen. Also, if your thermostat isn’t working correctly, it can lead to short cycling as well.

Compressor issues

How old is your HVAC equipment? If the compressor is going bad, it can short cycle, trying to keep up with demand. If you’ve ruled out all other problems, have an HVAC technician evaluate your equipment and fix the compressor as necessary. It can avoid more costly repairs down the road.

Think you have short cycling issues? Not sure what’s causing your heating or cooling system not to provide the home environment you’re looking for? We can help. We offer full service with all heating and cooling repair, and help evaluate indoor air quality as well. If you have a question about home comfort, we’re here to help.

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