understanding preventing furnace short cycling

Understanding and Preventing Furnace Short Cycling

Particularly during a long winter season like the one Utah is currently undergoing, the furnace is one of the most important pieces of HVAC equipment in the home. In charge of distributing warm air throughout every room, the furnace requires some basic areas of upkeep to ensure it’s working properly.

At Roberts Mechanical, we can provide a full range of furnace repair services for Orem and surrounding areas. One of the most common issues we’re called out to assist with is known as short cycling – what is this, and what are some of the primary factors that cause it? Let’s look at the basics here, plus how you can prevent these risks.


Defining Short Cycling

Simply, short cycling is a condition that describes when the furnace turns on and off repeatedly much more often than a standard furnace would. In many cases, it means the furnace spends the entire day starting and stopping in short bursts, which puts a huge amount of stress on several of its mechanical components and wears them down faster.

In addition, short cycling can lead to big issues with your in-home heating. It can cause uneven amounts of heat in various parts of the home, plus often raises utility bills by significant amounts. For this reason, it’s good to know the common causes of short cycling and how to prevent them, which we’ll discuss in our next section.

Causes and Prevention Areas for Short Cycling

Here are some of the primary factors that lead to short cycling, plus how to avoid any such risks:

  • Size of furnace: One common mistake homeowners make is buying a new furnace that’s too large for their space, assuming it will just do the job even better. This isn’t the case – an oversized furnace will actually heat your space too quickly, leading to long periods where it turns off earlier than required. To prevent this, always have HVAC professionals like ours assist you with furnace installation.
  • Insulation problems: Not only does your furnace need to be able to pump warm air into the home, the structure needs to be able to retain it. If you’re dealing with poor insulation, or perhaps issues of leaks by your windows and doors, new heat could be leaving the home quickly and forcing the furnace to start up again too quickly. Check these areas regularly to ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • Clogged filter: Clogged furnace filters can stop air from passing over the heat exchanger, which overheats the furnace and shuts it down. Furnace filters should be changed at least once every couple months, or more often in some cases.
  • Thermostat concerns: Malfunctioning thermostats may cause the furnace to short cycle for a few different reasons, sometimes due to poor battery life. In other cases, thermostats located too close to a heat source may register too much heat from this source and turn off the furnace even when the entire home isn’t properly heated. If you’re changing out your thermostat, work with our pros to ensure it’s located properly.

For more on preventing furnace short cycling, or to learn about any of our HVAC or furnace repair services, speak to the experts at Roberts Mechanical today.