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Why Is My Heat Pump Turning On and Off Frequently?

short cycling heat pump

Homeowners generally favor heat pumps for their efficiency. However, a number of common issues can cause them to run very inefficiently. When your unit turns on and off continuously, this can significantly drive up your energy bill and damage its parts. 

No One Likes Short Cycling

The continuous on-and-off phenomenon is known as short cycling. When a heat pump short cycles, it is having trouble heating or cooling your Savannah home. The unit can’t maintain the set temperature, so it restarts over and over again.

Here are four reasons this might be happening to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and what you should do:

1. Air Filter Clog

Whenever your heat pump has a problem, always check your air filter first. Over time, dust and debris form on your filter. When the filter is unchanged, this restricts airflow, which means your system will not circulate the right amount of air to heat or cool your Georgia home. Short cycling can result.

You should replace or clean your air filter, depending on whether it is disposable or reusable. To prevent future clogs, be sure to do this on a regular basis per your heat pump manufacturer’s recommendations.

2. Thermostat Error

Your thermostat could be giving your system an inaccurate reading. This might be due to your thermostat’s placement. If situated near a vent or window, it is likely to produce a misleading temperature scan that can cause short cycling. 

Another possibility is faulty wiring between your thermostat and heat pump. In either case, you should have one of our highly trained Old Coast Heating & Air Conditioning professionals assess the situation for you.

3. Leaky Refrigerant

During hot weather, your heat pump’s refrigerant absorbs heat from inside your home and sends it outside. During cold weather, the process is reversed. If you have a refrigerant leak, your system is going to have trouble with the heat transfer. Consequently, it will come up short in trying to complete a cycle. 

If you notice any icing on your outdoor unit, this could indicate a refrigerant leak. In this case, be sure to seek help from one of our experienced experts.

4. Oversized Unit

This is perhaps the most serious problem, as improper sizing may call for replacement. It is why our experts at Old Coast Heating & Air Conditioning always perform the proper calculations, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J load calculation, before any HVAC installation. 

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), accurate load calculations have a direct impact on energy efficiency, occupant comfort, indoor air quality (IAQ), and building durability.

If you have an oversized unit, it will heat or cool the area quickly, prematurely detect it has reached the target temperature, then shut off. Then the cycle will repeat. To be sure your system is the right size, you need to have a trained professional from Old Coast Heating & Air Conditioning perform Manual J testing in your home.

Call Us for All Your Heat Pump Needs

If you have any heat pump questions or want short cycling explained in more detail, please don’t hesitate to call Old Coast Heating & Air Conditioning here in Savannah, GA, at 912-250-5771. Or call or request service online today if you think you need a repair.

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