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HVAC FAQ: What Is Short Cycling?

HVAC-repair-technician-on-the-jobWe live in an area where we have cold winters and hot summers. That means that your heating and air conditioning systems are both of equal importance. Any problems with either of these systems really must be dealt with as soon as possible. Ignoring any signs of trouble with your HVAC systems will only give existing problems the time that they need to get worse and to do more damage to the system(s) in question.

Short cycling is a problem that can affect both heating and air conditioning systems. Like any other HVAC problem, there are many different reasons as to why short cycling may occur. We’ve provided some information regarding the potential causes of short cycling below. Remember, if you need any heating or air conditioning repair services in Bolingbrook, IL, give the professional technicians on our team a call right away.

First Things First: What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling is a relatively common phenomenon the heating and air conditioning realm. Basically, it is just an operational issue in which an air conditioner or heater is not completing a full heating or cooling cycle. The system will start up, run briefly, and then shut down. Then, the system will restart, and again run only briefly before shutting down once more. This can have a number of negative effects on your comfort and your system itself.

  • Increased wear and tear. When your system is starting and stopping constantly, it is going to accrue more wear and tear than it would when running for regular cycles.
  • Decreased efficiency. Your HVAC system is going to require more energy to start up than it does once it is actually up and running. Short cycling increases energy consumption, dragging down energy efficiency.
  • Reduced comfort. You will wind up paying more for less comfort if your system is short cycling. Temperatures will likely be uneven in the house, and an AC won’t dehumidify the air as much as usual if not running in full cycles.

What Causes Short Cycling?

There are a number of different issues that could lead to short cycling. Some can be resolved by the homeowner, while others will require professional service. If a system has always short cycled, though, it may just be of the wrong size for the house in which it is installed. In that case, replacement is really the only option.

  • Dirty air filters. If an air filter is very dirty, it can restrict airflow to the point that the system overheats and cycles down prematurely.
  • Icing. If you use a heat pump or a central AC and its coils ice over — possibly from dirty filters or refrigerant leaks — short cycling is going to be an issue.
  • Malfunctioning equipment. It’s possible that a thermostat is registering temperatures incorrectly, or that a thermocouple is shutting the system down when there is actually no safety issue. Repairing or replacing malfunctioning components is a job for trained technicians.

If your heater or air conditioner is short cycling, contact DuAll Heating & Cooling to have the problem expertly resolved. 

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