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November 25, 2020

Is Your Heat Pump Short Cycling? Here’s How to Fix It!

heat pump short cycling

Heat pumps are the most popular choice when it comes to indoor heating options. They are energy-efficient, inexpensive and require minimal maintenance, but a heat pump short cycling can cancel out many of these benefits. In this post, we look at the most common reasons for short cycling heat pumps and what you can do about it.

What is Short Cycling?

Short cycling occurs when your heat pump automatically shuts off before completing its full heating (or cooling) cycle. This means your system constantly runs in its start-up phase, rather than at its optimal efficiency level. This can cause an increase in energy consumption and a decrease in heating efficiency. As you can imagine, this constant starting and stopping also places strain on your system’s components, wearing parts out much sooner than normal.

What Causes a Heat Pump to Short Cycle?

Now that we know what short cycling is, let’s look at some common causes:

  • Incorrect Unit Size: An HVAC unit that is too large or too small for the space it’s in can lead to short cycling. In the case of a unit that is too small, it might be unable to distribute heat evenly. This can cause varying temperature readings on your thermostat, which in turn can make your system kick on and off according to rapid temperature changes, rather than when its cycles are completed. Conversely, if your unit is too large, it will heat the area quickly and shut off before it ever reaches optimal performance levels, increasing your energy bill.
  • An Overheated HVAC Unit: If airflow is restricted due to dirty air filters, blockages in air ducts or bent fins on air vents, heated air will remain trapped, eventually overheating your system. In these cases, short cycling is your unit’s way of protecting itself from overheating. Cleaning your unit, ductwork and air vents, as well as replacing/cleaning air filters can solve this issue.
  • A Faulty Thermostat: Incorrect thermostat readings can cause your system to kick on and off at inappropriate times. This could be due to a broken thermostat or its placement. Never place a thermostat in direct sunlight, next to ductwork or in an area that is unusually hot or cold in relation to the rest of your home.
  • A Damaged Compressor: Lastly, short cycling can occur due to a damaged compressor, causing your unit to switch on or off faster than it should.

Gold Star Services Can Help!

If your heat pump is short cycling, have a professional HVAC technician evaluate your system for proper sizing or faulty components. Additionally, annual cleanings and inspections help ensure your system operates efficiently.

Gold Star Services has a team of highly skilled HVAC technicians ready to help! Our services include heating, cooling and water heater repair, replacement and maintenance. Call 1-302-947-8694 to connect with Gold Star Services today!

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