It’s common for ductless HVAC systems to switch on and off intermittently to continuously regulate your home’s temperature. But if you notice your mini-split stuck in a rapid and repetitive on-and-off transition, it might be short-cycling. To help Boston homeowners keep an eye out for this common issue, we’re going to take a look at what short-cycling is, what causes it, and how it can damage your HVAC system.

What is short cycling in HVAC?

Short-cycling is a term used to describe a ductless HVAC system that’s turning off and on too quickly or at odd intervals, preventing the unit from completing full heating or cooling cycles. Since short-cycling is both a symptom of underlying problems and the cause of additional issues, it’s crucial that Boston homeowners call a ductless professional to get to the root of the problem before things get worse.

Generally, the cadence of a short-cycling mini-split can tell Boston homeowners a lot about the severity of the issue. For example, a ductless HVAC system that kickstarts only to die a few seconds later is likely in worse condition than a unit that experiences a few minutes delay in between each start-up cycle.

How does short-cycling impact mini-splits?

Shorter Lifespan

One of the most devastating effects of short-cycling is the decreased lifespan of your mini-split. With proper maintenance and care, a ductless HVAC system can last two decades. A short-cycle increases the amount of wear and tear a mini-split experiences in a short period of time. The constant on-and-off cycling damages the condenser’s motor, fans, and other crucial components, leading to a reduced life expectancy.

Decreased Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a major advantage mini-splits have over centralized HVAC systems. But when a system is short-cycling, Boston homeowners lose out on this massive benefit. The constant on-and-off switching burns a lot of energy as the motor is forced to work harder than it should. As your ductless system struggles to reach your home’s desired temperature level, it will continue running without having a chance to rest, resulting in more wasted energy.

Higher Utility Costs

Your monthly energy bill is another victim of a short-cycling HVAC system. Typically, Boston homeowners can expect decreased electrical bills with a ductless mini-split. But none of those savings are realized during a short-cycle. The extra energy needed to power the constant on-and-off cycling results in more energy consumption than normal which is ultimately reflected in higher utility expenses.

What is the reason for short-cycling?

The causes of short-cycling are just as numerous as the issues it can spawn. A common culprit of this constant on-and-off cycling is a lack of refrigerant – a chemical substance responsible for helping mini-splits heat and cool air. When refrigerant levels are low, ductless HVAC systems can’t run optimally. This can result in an ongoing loop of a mini-split trying to start only to die a few seconds or minutes later.

Another potential source of a short-cycling mini-split is a bad thermostat. These devices are in charge of signalling when it’s time for a ductless unit to switch on and off depending on the difference between the set temperature and the temperature within the home. When thermostats are damaged or poorly placed, they can misread temperatures and trigger mini-splits at odd intervals, causing a short-cycle.

Mini-splits that are too large for your home’s heating and cooling needs are also a potential cause. As you can see, the roots of short-cycles aren’t immediately evident. That’s why it’s crucial for Boston homeowners to work with a reputable ductless expert who can diagnose the problem quickly to solve the issue before it results in further damage to your system.

Fixing a Short-Cycling Mini-Split: When to Call a Ductless Professional

A short-cycling mini-split isn’t just a nuisance. It can have disastrous consequences for your overall HVAC system when not addressed immediately. If you notice your system switching on and off at oddly quick intervals, it’s important to call a ductless professional who can provide a thorough inspection. These experts can detect the underlying problem and provide the necessary maintenance and repairs to solve the issue.

Having issues with your ductless mini-split or interested in switching to this more energy-efficient and cost-effective HVAC solution? You’re in the right spot! New England Ductless has been helping Boston homeowners make the most of ductless technology for years. Contact us to schedule a booking.