HVAC Hacks: Tips for Novices and New Homeowners

Short Cycling? You May Need One Of These Furnace Repairs

Furnaces usually run a few cycles per hour, at most. In other words, your furnace should turn on, run for a little while, and then turn off again. On a really cold day, it might be only a couple of minutes before your furnace kicks on again. On a warmer day, it could be an hour or more. One thing is for sure, though: if your furnace is turning on and off every few minutes, that's not normal. Its cycles are too short. In fact, this behavior is known as "short cycling." It's a sign that your furnace needs one of the following repairs, or in some cases, several of them.

Limit Switch Replacement

The limit switch is a part of your furnace that is supposed to detect when your furnace is too hot and turn it off in response. If the limit switch is faulty and reading a higher temperature than your furnace truly registers at, then it could be causing your furnace to turn off before its heating cycle is really complete. Luckily, it's fairly easy for a furnace repair technician to replace a limit switch. It's an inexpensive part and only attaches with a few screws.

Duct Cleaning

It's possible that your furnace is just fine, but the ducts it blows air into are clogged. This could cause heat to essentially back up in the furnace. The furnace then grows too hot, the limit switch is triggered, and your heat cycle is cut short. Cleaning out these ducts and removing the debris within them will allow air to flow more freely. Most furnace repair companies offer duct cleaning. Even if your furnace repair company does not normally clean ducts, they may be able to clean the short portion of your ducts closest to the furnace.

Vent Widening

Furnaces need to be properly vented so that the air produced when the fuel burns does not end up in your home. If the furnace is not being vented properly, it could be shutting off prematurely to prevent exhaust accumulation. Your HVAC technician might need to widen the vents or add a new vent to provide more and better airflow. 

If your furnace is short-cycling, don't hesitate to contact a furnace repair company. Most causes of short cycling are not too hard for them to address. A furnace won't heat a home very well when it is short-cycling, and this is often a waste of energy — so don't ignore the behavior. For more information on HVAC repair, contact a professional near you.