A furnace that turns on and off frequently or shuts down mid-cycle is cause for concern, especially during winter when you can’t afford to be without heat. Don’t ignore this common furnace malfunction called short cycling—eventually your system won’t restart on its own, plus you’ll likely have increased energy bills and a higher risk of premature system failure.
There are a few issues that cause short cycling. Some you can fix yourself, like a dirty air filter. Air filters can become clogged as they trap pet dander, dust, and other contaminants as air moves through your system. Replace them regularly to maintain smooth airflow and proper system function. A dirty filter slows airflow and causes your system to overwork, which can lead to a breakdown or total failure.
Thermostats trigger short cycling if they’re malfunctioning and unable to give your furnace the information it needs to run properly. Similarly, if your thermostat was installed too close to a heat source—like a heat register or direct sunlight—it might tell your furnace to stop running because it thinks the whole house has already reached its set temperature.
Finally, the size of your system might be the issue. Furnaces are selected to fit your home perfectly. If the unit is too big, it will heat your home too quickly and shut off, not cycling to its full potential and allowing your home to cool down in between. This is why you should always work with a professional technician to ensure you’re getting the best possible system. After all, it’s a major investment in your comfort.
The difference between a short-cycling furnace and one that’s just running often because of the cold can be subtle. Here are two things you should pay attention to:
Furnaces typically run three to five times an hour, for several minutes each time. Short-cycling furnaces run much more often and only in one to two minute cycles.
If your furnace is short cycling, check your air filter to see if it needs to be replaced. You should also check that all your vents are open—even in rooms you don’t use often. Closing off areas in your home inhibits airflow and can cause cycling issues.
If these simple remedies don’t solve your problem, leave it to the experts at Roth Heating—your local Carrier® dealer—to assess and diagnose your furnace malfunction. Providing you with reliable service at a fair price is our priority—just give us a call.