Diagnosing And Fixing A Residential Heater That Is Short-Cycling

If your home's heater keeps turning itself on and off in short bursts, then it has a problem referred to as short-cycling. A short-cycling heater is one in need of a quick repair before more serious HVAC system damage results.

If you don't have any previous experience with short-cycling furnace issues, then below you will find all of the necessary information to diagnose and perhaps fix the problem.

The Cause of Short-Cycling Furnace Problems

There are many different reasons a residential HVAC system's heater will short-cycle. The two most common causes you can fix yourself are a clogged furnace filter and a malfunctioning thermostat. In addition, short-cycling can be caused by electrical circuit board problems, flooded tubing, corroded flame rods, failed inducers, and many other things only a licensed HVAC technician should repair.

The Damage Short-Cycling Causes Your HVAC System

When your heater keeps turning itself on and off, it uses more power and puts additional stresses the system from a lack of airflow or overheating. At best, your heating bills will soar and at worst, your furnace will overheat and fry something expensive. To protect the system's blower motor, heating elements, and other system components from damage, a rapidly cycling HVAC system must be repaired as soon as possible. Its parts aren't for all of the short run times and this situation often results in premature failures of expensive parts. 

In addition to damaging your system, short-cycling will also cause your family members to be cold more often than necessary. Not to mention, all that cycling on and off is noisy and will get on your nerves after a while.

DIY Short-Cycling Heater Repair

Often a heater that is short-cycling will require a professional repair. However, there are two things you can do to try and fix the problem yourself:

  1. Check the furnace filter. Clogged filters require your heater to struggle to get enough air and will lead to short cycles.
  2. Put a new battery in the thermostat or replace it if it is old. Thermostats do go bad, and one that is malfunctioning can continually turn on your heater or air conditioner for no apparent reason.

Professional Short-Cycling Heater Repair

While short-cycling is annoying and runs up your power bills, it is important to note that it also will lead to further HVAC system damage if the problem isn't quickly rectified. For this reason, it is vital you have the system professionally repaired before further operational problems occur if your own efforts have not resolved the problem.

For more information, contact your local heater repair service.