A short cycling furnace turns on for a short while then shuts down before it has enough time to heat your home. Sometimes, the furnace may never reach the temperature setting on your thermostat. Other times, your furnace might not even produce any heat if it starts to short cycle.
But a short cycling furnace can also mean that your system’s safety mechanisms are in good condition. These fail-safe features protect your system against other serious issues, like accidental fires. However, your furnace shouldn’t turn on and off every so often, especially when you need to heat your home. Take a look at these three common reasons for a short cycling furnace and their solutions.
1. A Dirty Flame Sensor
A flame sensor shuts off the gas valve if it doesn’t detect flames in your furnace. In doing so, the sensor actively protects your furnace from a potential gas leak. However, a faulty flame sensor might fail to detect the natural gas and flames inside the furnace. You may notice that the flame turns off only a short while after you light it.
Usually, this problem happens if the sensor is dirty. Gradual contamination could inhibit your sensor’s ability to detect flames properly. You may have to call in a furnace technician to get your system up and running again.
The furnace expert might first check for any accumulated debris in the sensor and clean off the dirt. They could also ask you to replace the sensor if it is too deteriorated for proper functioning.
2. A Failing Thermostat
The thermostat is one of the most crucial parts of your heating and cooling system. It regulates the temperature levels and triggers the heating or cooling mechanisms into action, according to what temperature level you set. For example, if your thermostat detects a temperature drop, it turns the heating system on to raise the temperature to the preset levels.
However, if the thermostat starts to fail, your furnace might constantly turn on and off to try and keep up with the faulty signals. Usually, the problem could be simple, such as dead batteries or faulty wiring in your thermostat.
Still, the thermostat’s location could also be a problem if there is a heat source nearby. The thermostat could register inaccurate temperature readings based on the nearby heat source, not the rest of your home. As a result, your furnace might turn on and off irregularly from these false thermostat signals.
Unless you only need to switch batteries, you may have to contact a furnace technician to relocate the thermostat or fix the faulty wiring.
3. An Overheating Furnace
An overheating furnace may turn itself off periodically as a fail-safe mechanism. Usually, overheating may result from restricted airflow due to a clogged air filter, multiple blocked interior vents, or a clogged exhaust vent.
But an overheating furnace creates much worse problems than you might think. The furnace heat exchanger can develop cracks from which harmful carbon monoxide gas can leak.
Carbon monoxide inhalation can be a serious threat to you and your family’s health. Inhaling large amounts of this toxic gas can be life-threatening, so don’t ignore any signs of furnace short cycling if you’re not sure of the cause.
You may have a hard time with a short cycling diagnosis if you don’t know where to look. Worse still, you could accidentally damage sensitive furnace components if you have little knowledge about how they work. You should ask a licensed furnace technician for a professional opinion to avoid such risks.
Your heating system may develop other problems, not just short cycling. Regardless of the situation, don’t wait until things get out of hand. Instead, contact reputable companies like CABS Heating & Air Conditioning for lasting HVAC solutions.