Have you ever noticed your furnace acting particularly strange? For example, have you noticed it turning on and off over and over again over a long period of time?
That behavior is called “short-cycling,” and it’s one of the most damaging issues that your furnace can have. If you notice your furnace short-cycling, you should turn it off and call a professional immediately. Even if you’ve never seen your furnace doing this, however, it pays to know a little more about it. That way, you can more quickly identify the issue and have it fixed before any permanent damage is done.
Let’s examine what causes short-cycling, and how you can prevent it from happening:
What Causes Short-Cycling?
Short-cycling is the result of how the furnace interacts with a small, but vital, part called the furnace limit switch. The furnace limit switch is a device that measures the temperature inside the furnace’s plenum, the main chamber where air is heated. If the temperature inside the plenum gets too high, the limit switch activates and shuts down the furnace to prevent damage from overheating. The limit switch is only a stop-gap measure, however. When the furnace has cooled off sufficiently, it will restart in response to the thermostat’s continuing calls for heat. Then the entire cycle repeats itself until the root cause of the overheating is addressed.
How can I Stop Short-Cycling?
The best way to prevent short-cycling it to regularly clean or replace the air filter in your furnace. There are other things that might cause short-cycling, but a clogged air filter is by far the most common. If the air filter is not cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months, it becomes so clogged with dust and debris that it restricts air flow into the furnace. This traps heat inside the furnace, causing it to overheat and short-cycle. If you don’t know where your air filter is or how to replace it, any HVAC technician should be able to do it for you.
If your furnace is shot-cycling, call Total Comfort Inc. We provide heating repair throughout the Riverside area.