If you use a central heating and cooling system in your home, you're likely well aware of how valuable it is in making your home feel comfortable. However, there may come a day when the appliance acts up and causes a problem known as short cycling. Here is what you need to know about short cycling and what you can do about it.
What's Short Cycling?
The HVAC system turns on and off based on the thermostat in your home, with the temperature triggering when the heat or cold air needs to start flowing through your vents. If you find that the system is frequently turning off and then right back on, it's a problem called short cycling.
Short cycling becomes a problem with an HVAC system for a few key reasons. The main one is is that short cycling has an impact on your energy bills by running the system more frequently than necessary. Your home will feel less comfortable since it is not maintaining the temperature at a level that is comfortable, since the thermostat is unable to register the temperature that you've set. Short cycling also puts unnecessary stress on the system, which can cause damage to happen prematurely.
What Can Cause Short Cycling?
There are many reasons why an HVAC system can short cycle. One issue that is difficult to address is that the system is too large for your home. If the furnace or air conditioner is designed to output air for a much larger home, it can cause the temperature to rapidly rise and reach the correct temperature, then quickly drop and fall below the set temperature. This problem may require replacing the HVAC system with one that is appropriately sized. A company like Biggerstaff Plumbing Heating & Air can give you an estimate for a new system.
A dirty air filter can also cause problems with short cycling, especially if there is a big clog causing the air to be obstructed. It can cause an issue where the HVAC system is shutting down due to overheating. Try replacing the system's air filter, and see if that fixes the problem. For an air conditioner, low refrigerant levels can cause overheating to occur because refrigerant is not flowing through the system properly.
Thermostat placement can also play a role in short cycling. Being located on an exterior wall with very little insulation can cause temperatures to be inaccurate, and suddenly change when the air stops flowing. Being in direct sunlight can also raise the thermostat temperature in the summer, leading to short cycling.