Here’s something you probably already know: your home’s furnace is not meant to stay on 24/7. It should turn on, heat up the home to the temperature on the thermostat, and shut back off for a while. However, this doesn’t mean it should be turning on and off repeatedly, with barely a break in between.
If this is happening in your home, you’re off to a good start: you know something is not quite right. But there are some things you don’t know yet. Is the problem serious? Will your furnace need replacement? A technician can answer these questions for you during your next heating repair, but we’ll give you an overview today.
What’s the Big Deal?
Okay, so the heater runs in shorter cycles than you’re used to. But there’s still warm air coming out of the vents. Is it really that big of a deal? We think so. This is a problem known as short-cycling. The furnace is running in shorter cycles than it was designed for, which means something is not quite right.
Short cycling wears down the blower motor because it is constantly starting and stopping. In fact, multiple parts can get worn down faster when your heater behaves in this way. Plus, your monthly bills take a huge it, since the initial startup of a heater uses a lot of energy.
Can It Be Repaired?
Many problems that lead to short cycling can certainly be repaired. In fact, there’s one issue you may be able to fix all on your own! Short cycling may be caused by something as simple as a dirty filter. The filter prevents air from flowing into the system with ease, so all you’ll have to do is change it. You might also have to open up a vent in the home that’s closed—this is not a good way to save energy and will only keep your furnace from running properly.
Of course, it isn’t always so easy. Other problems include blower motor troubles or faulty wiring, problems with safety components that shut off the gas valve too soon, or even dangerous issues like a blocked ventilation system. If the filter doesn’t solve your problem, it’s important to call in an expert.
Should You Replace It?
Unfortunately, not all short-cycling systems can be repaired. Sometimes, your only option is to replace the furnace, even if you’ve only had it for a short time. A common reason for short cycling is that a system is too large for the space in your home, something that cannot be fixed.
You might know that an undersized furnace can cause problems, but a furnace that is too large is no good either. When it’s too big for the space in your home, the furnace may shut off after only a few minutes, which is not what the furnace was designed for. The constant on-and-off takes its toll on your system, and it may need premature replacement.