March 25, 2024

Is Your Furnace or AC Short Cycling?

HVAC short cycling is a term used to describe a furnace or air conditioning system that turns on and off more frequently than usual. In many cases, this occurs without reaching the temperature your thermostat is set to. This phenomenon not only affects your comfort but can also significantly increase your energy bills and create unnecessary stress on your appliances and HVAC system. 

Let’s look at the causes and risks of short cycling along with some solutions to solve the problem. For fast and professional help with short cycling, call our team today.

What Causes a Short Cycling Furnace or AC?

Why is your furnace short cycling? Why can’t your AC keep your home comfortable without starting and stopping every few minutes? Several factors could be the cause, including:

  • Dirty Air Filters: Clogged filters restrict airflow which can cause the system to overheat and shut down prematurely.
  • Low Refrigerant Levels: Insufficient cooling or heating capacity can cause the system to shut down before it’s reached the proper temperature.
  • Frozen Evaporator Coil: A frozen AC coil doesn’t function properly and can lead to overheating which, in turn, can lead to short cycling.
  • Thermostat Issues: Incorrect thermostat placement or malfunction can lead to false readings that cause a system to turn off and on erratically.
  • Obstructions: Leaves, shrubs and debris can clog your outdoor air conditioning unit, resulting in inconsistent performance.
  • Oversized HVAC Units: When the system is too large for the space, it can cool or heat the area quickly and shut off, only to restart again shortly due to the rapid temperature change.
  • Electrical Problems: Issues with electrical connections can cause intermittent operation.

The Risks of HVAC Short Cycling

A short cycling air conditioner or furnace is not just an annoyance, it poses several risks to your system and home:

  • Increased Wear and Tear: Frequent on and off cycles put extra strain on your HVAC components, leading to earlier than expected breakdowns.
  • Higher Energy Bills: Short cycling causes your system to operate inefficiently, increasing energy consumption.
  • Reduced Comfort: Your home may experience uneven temperatures, making some areas too hot or too cold.
  • Decreased Lifespan: The additional stress on your system can significantly reduce its overall lifespan, leading to costly replacements.

How to Fix Short Cycling Issues

Addressing short cycling involves diagnosing and fixing the underlying issues that cause it. Here are steps homeowners can take:

  • Check and Replace Air Filters: Regularly inspect your air filters and replace them if they are dirty or clogged. You should typically do this monthly or bi-monthly.
  • Ensure Proper Thermostat Placement: Make sure your thermostat is placed away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, and windows to avoid false readings.
  • Replace Old or Faulty Thermostat: Your thermostat regulates your entire HVAC system. A new, programmable thermostat can give you better control and better response from your heating and cooling system.
  • Schedule Regular Maintenance: Regular HVAC maintenance can help identify and fix issues like low refrigerant levels, electrical problems and ensure your system is the right size for your home. Consider an annual furnace and AC check up.
  • Consider Professional Assessment: If the problem persists, it might be due to an incorrectly sized unit or other issues that require an HVAC professional. Get an assessment to see if you need a system replacement or adjustment.

We Stop Short Cycling in HVAC Systems

Regular maintenance is key to preventing HVAC issues and ensuring your home remains comfortable all year round. If your system is short cycling, don’t ignore the problem. It could affect your comfort, wallet and the longevity of your HVAC system. Contact Applewood’s team of skilled professionals today. We’ll ensure that your heating and cooling remains safe, working properly and consistent. 

Call  303-328-3060

Schedule Now