A picture of an HVAC Technician with the words, "what is shortcylcing?"

Short cycling is an HVAC term that refers to a situation where a furnace or air conditioner turns on and off too frequently. This is a problem because the shorter the cycle, the harder your system has to work. To minimize the stress and wear to your HVAC system, it is important to catch short cycling early and address the underlying issues. 

What Causes Short Cycling?

There are a few different things that can cause short cycling, and they all require different solutions. Here are some of the most common causes of short cycling:

Incorrect Unit Size

If your furnace is too large for your home’s ductwork, it will cause a short cycle. This is because an oversized furnace will use a lot of energy to heat your home. This in turn can lead to the distribution of air being uneven. Uneven air distribution can create hot and cold pockets in your home.

Your Furnace Needs Maintenance or Repairs

Your furnace needs to be serviced at least once a year to keep it healthy. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow which can potentially lead to short cycling. Short cycling may also occur if the flame sensor has become corroded or if there is an object stuck in your air vents. 

Poor Thermostat Placement

Thermostats should not be placed in areas that get direct sunlight, and they should also be kept away from heat-generating appliances or vents. Poor thermostat placement can cause your thermostat to give an improper reading, leading to your furnace turning on and off more often. 

Is Short Cycling Bad for My Furnace?

Woman controls thermostat while man with suitcase prepares to leave home

The constant cycle of turning on and off of your home’s furnace can put a huge strain on the electrical equipment which can reduce the lifespan of your furnace overall. In particular, short cycling can lead to damaged equipment because the constant turning on and off will wear parts out faster. The costs of repairs and replacements aren’t the only way short cycling can cause your wallet to take a hit, though. Because a lot of energy is consumed when your furnace is constantly turning on and off, short cycling will also lead to higher energy bills. 

How Do I Fix Short Cycling?

The best thing to do if you suspect your HVAC system is short cycling is to contact your trusted HVAC specialist to check your home’s furnace. It is also beneficial to invest in yearly maintenance to prevent your furnace from running into issues that would lead it to short cycle. 

You may not be sure what counts as turning on and off too frequently, but the experienced team at Cote’s Mechanical does. Our experts will ensure your system is running as well as possible so that you can rest easy knowing that your cozy home will stay cozy and your wallet won’t be hit with higher energy bills and repair costs. Don’t let a small issue snowball into a big problem; contact us today to schedule a consultation or appointment!

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