3 Problems That Could Cause Your Furnace To Short Cycle

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Have you noticed your furnace starting up and shutting down repeatedly over a span of a few brief minutes? Your furnace is likely short cycling - a problem that usually results in serious damage and a shortened lifespan for your furnace if left unchecked. Short cycling furnaces also consume large amounts of energy, resulting in higher-than-average utility bills.

The following takes a look at the three most common causes of short cycling and what you can do to correct those issues.

Airflow Restrictions

Poor airflow not only reduces overall performance and energy efficiency, but it can also trigger short cycling issues. Furnaces can actually overheat if there isn't enough air flowing through to carry away the heat it generates. A clogged air filter is one of the most common reasons for struggling furnace performance and short cycling.

Swapping out your clogged air filter for a fresh replacement can help reduce short cycling. This should be done on a monthly basis or as recommended by the furnace and/or air filter manufacturer. You should also check and clean all vents of any dust and debris that could impede airflow to and from the furnace.

Poor Thermostat Placement

Furnaces rely on an accurate thermostat reading to deliver reliable heat when needed. Installing a thermostat in the wrong area could easily result in an inaccurate reading. If a thermostat picks up lower temperatures from a drafty area, for instance, that could cause the furnace to short cycle in an attempt to maintain stable temperatures.

Proper placement is the key when it comes to your thermostat. Thermostats should be installed on an interior wall in a central location. Make sure the thermostat is kept away from drafty areas, including supply and air intake vents.

Oversized Furnace

Having an excessively large furnace in relation to your home's actual heating needs can also lead to short cycling. An oversized furnace produces tremendous amounts of heat, much of it which is distributed unevenly throughout the home. As a result, your furnace may cycle on and off constantly in order to achieve a balance.

It's a good idea for your HVAC technician to rule out any other issue that could cause short cycling prior to focusing on the size issue. The best way to deal with an oversized furnace that's also short cycling is to replace the entire unit with one that's properly sized for your home.

Instead of going by traditional "rule of thumb," make sure your HVAC technician uses the Manual J load calculation to size up your new furnace. For more information, contact companies like Peterson Heating & Cooling.

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4 January 2018

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