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Causes of Short Cycling in Your Heater

Westlake, OH is at the peak of autumn, when fall colors are out and Saturdays echo with the sounds of football. It also means that people are firing up their furnaces and heaters to keep their homes warm for the next few months, and prudent homeowners would be wise to look for signs of trouble early in the season, before the snows start to fall.

Short cycling, in particular, can be a pernicious problem: causing the heater to turn off before it has finished heating, only to turn on again a few moments later. Short cycling is problematic because it uses up a great deal of energy—heaters use more starting up and shutting down than they do simply running—and the added strain increases the risk of a major breakdown. The good news is that a qualified technician can perform repairs quickly, but it helps for the homeowner to understand some of the potential causes of short cycling in their heater.

  • Clogged Filters or Air Passages: A blocked line means that the hot air generated by the furnace won’t circulate in your home. It stays in the furnace and can cause individual components to overheat if the issue isn’t addressed.  A safety switch usually kicks in to shut the system down, but without addressing the problem it will simply start up again, perpetrating the cycle.
  • Faulty Fan or Fan Motor: A fan that isn’t blowing air like it should causes the same problems discussed above: the hot air doesn’t move and the furnace keeps turning on and off in an effort to mitigate potential overheating issues.
  • Bad Thermostat: If the thermostat misreads the temperature or activates the heater at the wrong time, it could result in short-cycling.
  • Overpowered: A heater that’s too powerful for your space will engage in short cycling. Unfortunately, if this is the case, the only solution is to replace the heater.

Call Westland Heating and Air to handle any problems related to short cycling in your heater.

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