Nov 09

How to Tell If Your Furnace Is Short-Cycling & What to Do

feeling chilly due to malfunctioning heating system

The chill in the air means that winter is on its way. The freezing temperatures are likely to bring discomfort to your home. Make sure that you keep your family safe and warm from frigid nights by checking your furnace. It should be in perfect working condition. Any furnace issues should be fixed immediately. Some furnace problems are easier to fix than others. However, a problem like short-cycling needs professional attention. This issue is when your furnace runs then shuts off and starts again in short intervals.

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How Can I Tell If My Furnace Is Short Cycling?

image of why depicting why does a furnace short cycleA furnace that works as it should will turn on and run until it reaches the desired temperature. After this, it will shut off while your house maintains the heat level. It will switch on once the temperatures drop, but this usually takes a while. However, a short-cycling furnace will turn on and off in quick successions. It will not reach the set temperature. This constant turning on and off will wear out the furnace. As a result, your house will still feel cold even though the furnace is running.

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Causes Of Furnace Short Cycling

Short cycling must be fixed immediately. It drastically reduces your home’s energy efficiency. Not only that, but it also damages your furnace while your house remains cold and uncomfortable. Short cycling can be due to several reasons. The right fix will depend on the cause. Listed below are a few of the reasons your furnace is short cycling:

Dirty HVAC Air Filter

image of a dirty hvac air filter

A dirty furnace filter can cause short cycling. A filter that is caked by pollutants does not allow proper airflow. Therefore, the furnace is unable to cool down properly. You will notice the air coming out of the vents is hotter than it should be as well. The heat will continue to increase until the furnace automatically switches off as built-in protection. Make sure to clean washable filters and replace disposable ones on a regular basis.

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Thermostat Is In The Wrong Spot

The thermostat is equipped with sensors to determine the temperature inside your home. This allows it to regulate the furnace per what the thermostat senses indoors. If the thermostat is placed on the wrong spot, it might not work as it should. You might have put it next to a direct heat source like a heating vent. This will tamper with its sensor readings. It will think that the house has already reached the set temperature and, consequently, it shuts the furnace down. Ensure that the thermostat is located in a neutral spot that is far from anything that can affect its sensors.

Bad Furnace Flame Sensor

furnace burner

A bad flame sensor means that the flame will go out as soon as it is lighted. The flame sensor monitors the gas valve. This is a safety precaution that ensures raw gas does not circulate throughout your house. It shuts the valve when there is no flame. A faulty sensor closes the gas valve even when it is needed. Cleaning might do the trick, but the sensor needs to be replaced if it doesn’t. Contact a professional HVAC tech to help you.

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The Furnace Is Overheating

Your heating system has a built-in safety measure to protect it from damage. Its job is to provide heating for your home, but that does not mean that your furnace can’t overheat. Overheating is usually caused by blocked vents, dirty filters, and other furnace problems. If the furnace temperature reaches dangerous levels, the furnace will shut off automatically. This will prevent further furnace damage like a cracked heat exchanger. Fatal doses of carbon monoxide can leak through these cracks, so this safety feature is vital.

Blocked Heating Air Vents

opening hvac air vent

The air vents are where heated air is distributed throughout your home. When these are blocked, the hot air gets trapped inside and overheat the furnace. The furnace will short cycle until this issue is fixed. HVAC air vents are typically controlled via the dampers. It lets you control whether a room receives warm air or not. This control mechanism helps you be more energy efficient. However, keep in mind that at least 75 percent of these events must be open at all times. Having most of your vents closed might end up overheating your furnace.

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Blocked Exhaust Vent

Make sure that your exhaust vents are always open. Check if anything is blocking them. Snow might have piled up, or a nearby shrub might have grown too large. Remove these blockages immediately. Check the exhaust vent from time to time to ensure that it is not blocked. If a dangerous animal is blocking it, call animal control to help you remove them. It is always better to be safe than to expose yourself to harm’s way.

Furnace Is Too Large

Bigger is not always better. This applies to your furnace size. You might think it will work best for your house, but excess capacity will only lead to short cycling. The furnace parts will wear out quicker, hot and cold spots will be present in your home, and you will notice an increase in your heating bills. This problem can only be fixed by replacing the too large furnace with one that is sized correctly. An HVAC technician can conduct the required calculation to ensure that you have the size, make, and model that best suits your home heating needs.



Make sure your home is ready for winter by resolving all furnace issues immediately. If you think your heating unit is short cycling, look into the possible cause using the clues above. Get professional assistance from an HVAC tech. They can help find the solution and repair it as soon as possible. This way, you get to enjoy using your heating system for a long time.

Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Skylands Energy Service provides superior HVAC services in central New Jersey. Our company hires the best trained and certified technicians. We conduct excellent heating and cooling services like furnace repairs, boiler installations, ductless system replacements, furnace maintenance, and more. Each of our friendly technicians has extensive knowledge and experience to conduct fast and accurate HVAC services.

Skylands Energy Service guarantees affordable HVAC rates in the area. Our tune-ups can improve your home comfort and energy efficiency. It will also help keep your home energy costs in check. If you are looking for an HVAC replacement unit, we can provide you with the one that best suits your needs and budget. All our work comes with a guarantee. Your satisfaction is important to us. Schedule a service appointment by calling Skylands Energy Service today. We provide free, in-home estimates.

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