Leave Your Heating &
Air To The Experts
Home Services Solutions for the
Greater Raleigh Area

Back To Blog

HVAC FAQ: Why Is My System Short Cycling?


Whether during the very hot, very humid days of summer, or on the chillier nights of the winter season, one thing is certain. You want to be comfortable in your home. You are not going to be able to achieve that goal if your HVAC systems are not functioning properly. There is a lot that can go wrong with any mechanical system, our heaters and air conditioners included. Remember, just because these systems are technically running does not mean that they are running as they ought to.

Spotting the signs of trouble with your HVAC systems is not always as simple as it sounds. An air conditioner that is blowing warm air, or a heater that won’t start at all, are pretty clear cases in which you’ll need to contact a Durham, NC HVAC service. However, you should also recognize short cycling as a sign of trouble, and one that could be caused by a number of different issues. So what is short cycling?

A Serious Problem — Potentially

Short cycling refers to the circumstance in which a heater or an air conditioner fails to run in full, even heating or cooling cycles. Instead, the system will start up, run only briefly, and then cycle back down. Then it will repeat this cycle over an over in a vicious, well, cycle. But why is this a problem?

  • Inefficiency. It takes more power to start a system up than it does to keep that system running once it’s going. That means that a short cycling HVAC system is never going to function as efficiently as it would when working properly.
  • Condition. When a system starts and stops so frequently, it is going to incur a lot of wear and tear — far more than it otherwise would. That means that there is an increased risk of operational problems and potentially serious damages.
  • Comfort. Long story short, a short cycling system won’t keep your home as comfortable as one that is functioning properly. You need to have the problem resolved if you want to live in the comfort that we know you deserve.

But what actually causes short cycling? Well, there are a few reasons why your system may short cycle. They’re not all terribly serious, but they could be. That is why it may be necessary to have a professional assess and, as needed, repair the system.

  • Dirty filter. This is one that you can handle on your own. If the filter in a forced air HVAC system is too dirty, it can create so much airflow resistance that the system overheats and shuts down.
  • Faulty capacitor. Air conditioners and heat pumps use capacitors — start and run capacitors, to be more specific. The run capacitor is there to maintain a charge, and if it is faulty then the system won’t be able to run continually as needed.
  • Refrigerant leaks. Again specific to heat pumps and air conditioners is the matter of refrigerant leaks. If there is not a sufficient amount of refrigerant in a system due to leaks, then serious damages could develop. Short cycling may be an early warning sign of such problems.

Schedule your HVAC services with Raleigh Heating & Air.

Request Service

Request Service

Ease Comfort Logo Ease Comfort Logo
Go Next Level with EASE Comfort®

We understand that installing a new heating or air conditioning system can be a significant investment. We help take the stress out of your installation project by offering the
EASE Comfort® Program. Through this exclusive program, you’ll enjoy a new, high-efficiency system installation with no money down, no unexpected fees, and a no-hassle maintenance program tailored to your needs