The click of your furnace kicking on in the fall and winter months is a reassuring sound, letting you know that it may be cold outside, but inside…your home will stay toasty warm! But as soon as it starts, it kicks off again. At first you don’t think anything about it, but then you notice it continues to happen. UGH.
When your furnace turns on and off in short bursts, this is called “short cycling.” It’s a common issue for homeowners, and your local Annapolis HVAC company, Pro-Tech HVAC Home, is going to walk you through what the problem might be and how you can fix it.
Furnace Short Cycling is Caused by Lack of Airflow
One of the biggest issues that causes your furnace to short cycle is a lack of airflow. If the furnace can’t pull air into the heat exchanger, it can overheat, triggering the temperature sensor and tripping the high limit switch to keep the furnace from overheating. The good news is that it’s generally easy to determine why your furnace isn’t getting proper airflow, and you can check with these measures:
- Check your air filter – Your filter prevents dirt, dust, and dander from clogging up your furnace, but if you don’t change or clean the filter regularly, air can’t circulate into the exchanger, causing it to short cycle.
- Check the return vents – Make sure there’s nothing blocking air flow into your return vent, like a piece of furniture or curtains.
If overheating is causing your furnace to kick off and on, you’ll want to reach out to a furnace repair company immediately because overheating can lead to cracks in the heat exchanger and leak carbon monoxide into your home.
Check Your Thermostat
Your thermostat sends signals to your furnace letting it know when it’s time to get to work, so it can be the cause of your heat’s short cycling. However, there are many things that could be going on with your thermostat, including:
- Check your temperature setting – Your furnace kicking off and on could simply be because it doesn’t have far to go to reach the programmed temperature. If it’s programmed or a smart system, make sure the setting is updated to reflect your home’s current needs.
- Thermostat is too warm – If your thermostat is in a sunny, warm area of the house, it’s not getting the opportunity to cool down enough to send the signal that it’s time to kick on. If you see a sunbeam landing on it, or there’s a lamp right under the sensor, it may be time to find a new spot for it (or that lamp!) to minimize the heat of that location.
- Batteries may be dying – If the batteries are going out, it may be causing the signals to not get sent properly, so try changing them and see if that fixes the issue.
If these don’t fix the short cycling issue, it may still be a problem with the thermostat, such as a short or other issue, but that would most likely require diagnostics from a professional furnace repair technician.
Furnace Blower Is Malfunctioning
If you hear the furnace kick on and nothing happens after that, it may not be short cycling…there’s simply no heat being pushed out of the furnace. This is most likely due to the blower malfunctioning in your heating unit and will need to be fixed or replaced by a professional.
The Furnace Could Be Too Large for Your Home
A furnace that’s too big for your house will put out heat faster than your house really needs. It will run for two minutes or so, then it will turn off simply because it hit the desired temperature. This isn’t efficient for your home and could lead to the unit wearing out more quickly than a properly-sized system. Having a furnace that’s too large is typically a problem that is discovered either after you’ve recently purchased a new heating system or bought a home and have only recently turned on the heat.
Get Your Furnace Fixed FAST!
If your furnace is kicking off too fast, and changing the filter or the thermostat batteries aren’t fixing the problem, it’s time to call the experts at Pro-Tech HVAC Home. Short cycling can wear out your system and overwork core components, leading to a more intensive repair. Our experienced, PROfessional TECHnicians will get to the core of what’s wrong with your system, whether it’s a simple repair or a more complicated malfunction, and get it working again quickly with a reliable, effective solution. Call us at (240) 298-6521 or fill out the form below to schedule service, today!
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Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.