Does Your Electric HVAC System Keep Coming On? What You Need To Know About Short Cycling

If the electric HVAC system in your home or office seems like it is constantly turning itself on and off when set on the "auto" setting, then it may be having a problem commonly referred to as short cycling. 

Since short cycling is hard on your HVAC system and will greatly increase your power bill, it's important to determine the root cause of the problem and rectify it sooner rather than later. 

To assist you, here's what you need to know about this issue:

What is Short Cycling?

As its name implies, short cycling refers to an HVAC system that turns on and off too frequently. For example, you get up in the morning and turn the thermostat to 68 degrees and set it on the auto setting. The heater comes on and runs until it hits your desired 68 degrees, and then it turns off. 

A correctly functioning HVAC system will then sit idle until the thermostat drops below 68 degrees before it will come back on. Alternatively, an HVAC system that is short cycling will come back on before the thermostat ever drops. It will run for a couple of minutes and then turn off. A few minutes later, again without the temperature on the thermostat ever dropping, the heater will come on again. All of this turning on and off without any movement in the temperature on the thermostat is referred to as short cycling.

Why is Short Cycling a Problem?

In addition to being annoying, short cycling is a huge problem for your HVAC system. All the rapid starting and stopping pulls a lot of extra power and it will wear out the mechanical parts of the heater prematurely if it is allowed to continue. For these reasons, it's vital to determine the cause of the problem and take the necessary steps to rectify it.

What Causes Short Cycling?

There are a variety of different things that can cause an electric HVAC system to short cycle. The most common include:

  • A malfunctioning thermostat

  • A clogged air filter

  • A malfunctioning inducer

  • Electronic part malfunction

Before calling out an HVAC repair technician, first, you should change the battery in the thermostat and ensure the air filter is clean. If this doesn't stop the short cycling issues, then you should have a professional check out the system's electronic parts and inducer to determine the root cause and solve this problem once and for all. For more information, contact a local specialist such as Ricotta Heating & Air.