Even if you love cold weather, you don’t want your heater to turn off before your house is toasty warm. A heater that turns on and off when it isn’t supposed to is “short cycling,” and there are many reasons why your furnace might be short cycling. We here at Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling look for five things, and if they aren’t any of the five things below, we’ll investigate further to find the source of your heater’s short cycle tendencies.
1. Air Filter
Do you change your air filter every 30 or 90 days like you’re supposed to because if you don’t, this could be what causes your heater to turn off prematurely. A clogged or dirty air filter can affect the airflow in and out of your HVAC system. If the hot air isn’t pushed effectively from the heater into your home, the heater will think there’s a problem and shut down.
If your thermostat isn’t working properly this, too, could cause short cycling. You thermostat read the home is as warm as you set it to be, even though it isn’t. As such, it will send a signal to the furnace to shut off because all is up to temperature. If your thermostat is quite old, it might be time for a replacement anyway, as programmable thermostats are more energy efficient.
3. Flame Sensor
Your heater’s flame sensor can become corroded over time with contaminants found in the natural gas or propane that fuels your furnace. If the flame sensor is dirty, the furnace will shut off prematurely. To prevent the corrosion from building up, it’s wise to have your heater maintained every fall. A technician will clean the flame sensor and check the entire system.
If you are one to stack things up next to the heater’s exhaust vents, please don’t do that. This not only opens your home up to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning it also causes the heater to short cycle. All vents, including exhaust and air duct vents, should always be kept clear of objects and debris. It’s wise to clean them regularly, too, to avoid fire risk.
5. Heater Size
This might sound strange, but if your heater is too big for your house, it might shut down prematurely. This is because the powerful furnace heats up areas of the house faster than the thermostat can keep up with, and then it shuts down because it thinks its job is done. In the case of heaters, bigger is not better, so make certain your furnace is sized properly to your space.
If your heater is short cycling, call Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling at 616-828-5411 if you live in Grand Rapids, 269-290-7844 if you’re a Kalamazoo resident, or 517-507-4174 if you call Lansing home. We’ll be happy to come out and determine the short cycling cause.