How to Avoid Short Cycling

How to Avoid Short Cycling

How to Avoid Short CyclingIf your cooling system always starts up, runs for a brief time, then shuts off, you’re experiencing an issue known as “short cycling.” This situation can affect your comfort, energy bills and your HVAC equipment’s life expectancy, so it’s important to know how to avoid it.

Why Cycle Duration Matters

Normally, an air conditioner or heat pump cycles on, runs until the temperature setting on the thermostat is reached, then cycles off again. When the room temperature rises, the cycle should repeat. The duration of the cycles may vary, but generally, two or three, 15- to 20-minute cycles should occur per hour. If your system’s cycles are too short, it won’t cool or dehumidify your home effectively. This also wastes energy and puts extra wear and strain on your cooling components, which can lead to breakdowns or a premature equipment failure.

Short Cycling Causes and Solutions

Here’s a look at some possible causes of HVAC cycling problems. There are a couple that you easily fix, while others need to be diagnosed and corrected by an experienced HVAC pro:

  • Badly clogged filter. If you’ve neglected to change the filter and it’s badly clogged, airflow restrictions may be causing cycling issues. If so, replacing the filter regularly may be all that’s needed.
  • Dirty cooling coil. When the coil is coated with a layer of debris, it interferes with proper heat transfer and leads to inefficient cycling. Yearly preventive maintenance that includes cleaning the coils can solve this problem.
  • Low refrigerant. A refrigerant leak can also cause a decline in airflow that results in cycling problems. To restore the system’s functionality, an HVAC technician needs to locate and fix the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Incorrect equipment size. If your A/C is too large for your home, it will short cycle and won’t cool effectively or efficiently. The best solution for this is having a knowledgeable HVAC contractor perform a load calculation to determine the correct capacity so you can have new equipment installed.

For expert help correcting a short cycling problem in your Peachtree City home, contact us at Powers Heating & Air.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040. 

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