Why Is My Heat Pump Turning On and Off Frequently?

Homeowners generally favor heat pumps for their efficiency. However, internal errors can cause them to run extremely inefficiently. When your unit turns on and off continuously, this can drive up your energy bill significantly and damage its parts, leading to both repairs and part replacements. This phenomenon is known as short cycling. When a heat pump short cycles, it’s having trouble heating or cooling your home. The unit can’t maintain the set temperature, so it restarts over and over again.

Here are four reasons this might be happening, and what to do about it:

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 unchanged, this restricts airflow, which means your system can’t circulate the right amount of air to heat or cool your home. You should replace or clean your air filter, depending on whether it’s disposable or reusable. To prevent future clogs, be sure to do this on a regular basis, depending on the heat pump manufacturer’s recommendations.

2. Thermostat Error

Your thermostat could be giving your heating system an inaccurate reading. This might be due to where your thermostat is placed. A thermostat placed near a vent or window 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 a professional assess the situation.

3. Leaky Refrigerant

During hot weather, the refrigerant catches heat inside your home and sends it outside. During cold weather, it takes heat from the outdoors, where it is then pressurized into your home. If you have a refrigerant leak, your system is going to have trouble with the heat transfer. Consequently, it will not be able to complete a cycle. If you see ice on your outdoor unit, this may indicate a refrigerant leak. In this case, seek help from a technician.

4. Oversized Unit

This is perhaps the most serious problem, as it may call for replacement. This is why Kimbro Air always performs the proper calculations before any HVAC installation. If you have received an oversized unit, it will heat or cool the area quickly, prematurely detect that it’s 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 technician perform Manual J testing in your home.

Think you might need a repair? Call Kimbro Air of Hendersonville, TN, today at 615-527-8576 request an appointment online to schedule heat pump service.


Kimbro Air proudly provides HVAC service to Hendersonville, Nashville, Bellevue, Bordeaux, Brentwood, Franklin, Gallatin, Goodlettsville, Hermitage, Madison, Mt. Juliet, White House and the surrounding communities. Visit our service area page for more coverage details, call us at 615-527-8576, or request service online today.

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