Mini Split Short Cycling

As the owner of a ductless mini split system, the words “short cycling” are two you never want to hear. Today’s post will explain what short cycling is, why it’s detrimental to your mini split, and how to prevent it.

What Is Mini Split Short Cycling?

Short cycling is not a phenomenon exclusive to ductless mini split systems. Any central air conditioner can also short cycle.

On average, a cooling cycle is supposed to last about 10 minutes. At that point, your mini split will turn off, including the indoor air-handling unit and the compressor in your backyard.

When short cycling occurs, the average cooling cycle duration is lessened. It’s not even close to 10 minutes.

Short cycling has many causes.

If your mini split is too large for your home, then short cycling can occur. The reason is that the mini split has too much cooling power, so it cools the room so fast that it can shut down in well under 10 minutes.

If the evaporator coils in your compressor have frozen, the entire mini split will operate unstably, which can explain your short cycling issue.

A lack of refrigerant or coolant can also contribute to short cycling, as can backed-up filters that you haven’t cleaned or replaced in a while.

Why Is Short Cycling So Bad for My Mini Split?

Short cycling can be a hugely detrimental problem to your mini split system.

The unit doesn’t cool your home efficiently if it’s not running through its full average cooling cycle. You could be left sweating even though your mini split is on.

If you begin tinkering with the settings of your mini split to make it work better, including the thermostat, you could cause the unit to strain harder, weakening the entire system.

Even if you leave your settings as is when your mini split is short cycling, the process is still doing a number on the unit.

The compressor isn’t designed to keep turning on and off throughout the day like that. It strains the unit to continually switch from being in operation to being out of operation.

Before you know it, the compressor can fail altogether.

How to Prevent Short Cycling

If your ductless mini split system has had issues with short cycling before, fortunately, it’s easy enough to prevent future recurrences. Here are some suggestions for doing just that.

  • Refill refrigerant: When your mini split begins short cycling out of nowhere, call your technician and request that they refill the unit’s refrigerant levels. They should also look for coolant leaks while they’re there.
  • Check the thermostat: The technician should give the thermostat the once-over to confirm it’s working well. The thermostat should ideally be positioned away from return vents so the cool or hot air doesn’t affect its internal temperature reading.
  • Replace your air filter: A dirty air filter can wreak havoc on your mini split system. If yours is reusable, then clean and replace the filter. If the filter is a single-use type, get rid of it and add a clean one.