Short Cycling in HVAC Systems

2August 2023

Short Cycling in HVAC Systems: What It Is and How to Fix It

Short cycling in HVAC systems is a common problem that can lead to discomfort, increased energy bills, and wear and tear on your equipment. But what exactly is short cycling, and how can you fix it? In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of short cycling and provide some practical solutions.

What Is Short Cycling?

Short cycling is when an HVAC system, such as an air conditioner or furnace, turns on and off more frequently than it should. Instead of running for the usual amount of time, the system shuts off after a short period, only to turn back on again soon after.

Why Is Short Cycling Bad?

Short cycling is more than just an annoyance; it’s a sign that something might be wrong with your HVAC system. Here’s why it’s a problem:

  1. Increased Humidity: Short cycling prevents the system from removing humidity, leading to a muggy indoor environment.
  2. Higher Energy Bills: More frequent on-and-off cycles mean higher energy consumption, hitting your wallet hard.
  3. Wear and Tear: Constant cycling can wear down the system, leading to costly repairs or even replacement.

Common Causes of Short Cycling

Understanding the root cause of short cycling is the first step in fixing the problem. Here are some common culprits:

  • Unit Overheating: Grime buildup or a refrigerant leak can cause the unit to overheat.
  • Faulty Thermostat: Damaged wiring or electrical problems can send the wrong signals to the system.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep the system running smoothly.

How to Fix Short Cycling

If you’re dealing with short cycling, don’t fret! Here are some easy fixes you can try:

  1. Check Thermostat Settings: Make sure the temperature is set correctly.
  2. Check the Timer: Your thermostat might have timer settings that need adjusting.
  3. Check Thermostat Location: If the thermostat is in a hot or cold spot, it might need to be relocated.

If these fixes don’t do the trick, it’s time to call in a professional. An HVAC technician can diagnose the problem and provide the necessary repairs.


Short cycling in HVAC systems is a pesky problem that can lead to discomfort and higher costs. By understanding what causes short cycling and how to fix it, you can keep your system running smoothly and your home comfortable.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing short cycling and other HVAC issues. So, don’t be a stranger to your HVAC technician, and keep your system in tip-top shape!