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Why Does My HVAC Unit Consistently Cycle On and Off?

Here’s what you need to know if your heating and air conditioning keeps cycling on and off.

HVAC issues

When your heating and air conditioning is working properly, it will automatically cycle on when it senses the air temperature is too cold. When the inside temperature gets warm enough, the heating system should shut itself off. A lot of people don't pay attention to this process. However, if your system is not cycling properly, it could indicate a serious problem.

This is a problem that is generated within your heating system. If this problem is not promptly diagnosed and corrected, it could result in permanent damage to your heating unit and will likely increase your utility bills. The average heating system will cycle on and off three to six times every hour. To diagnose a problem, a technician should run a test on your heating unit and count how many times it stops and restarts in a 60 minute time period.

Check Your Filter

A common cause of short cycling is the easiest fix: filter change. You should check your filters every month and change them if they are dirty. This can have a big impact on your unit's efficiency.

A dirty filter can send an incorrect message to your unit, because air can't pass through the filter and it backs up within the unit. The unit can then shuts itself off, causing your home to become cold, which will signal the system to start up again. What a roller coaster! The good news is if a dirty air filter is the problem, you can avoid this ride entirely by changing your filters regularly.

Check Your Thermostat

A faulty thermostat can cause your heating system to short cycle. Check to ensure your thermostat is turned on and set to the correct settings before assuming your heating systems needs repairs. The placement of your thermostat can also contribute the problem. It should not be too close to another heat source, such as direct sunlight or a heat register.

Other Possible Causes

If you don't have a dirty air filter or a malfunctioning thermostat, the problem could be caused by one of the following:

  • Corroded flame sensor
  • Improperly sized heating system
  • Foreign objects lodged in the chimney or air vents

These are more serious concerns and you will need a professional technician to deal with them correctly to ensure your family's safety and comfort.

If you suspect any one of these issues is occurring with your heating and air conditioning, schedule an appointment with an experienced HVAC professional at Morelli Heating and Air Conditioning.

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