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What Is Short Cycling (and Why Do Heaters Do It?)?

chilly-manWhen it comes to your heater’s overall performance quality, good enough is just never good enough. You deserve the best heating performance that your home heating system has to offer, and you simply are not getting that level of performance quality if your heater is constantly cycling off and on. Remember, the fact that your heater is up and running does not guarantee that your heater is up and running properly. Nor does it mean that the problem is “minor” enough to ignore!

No, short cycling may not lead to your heater breaking down entirely right away. However, it is going to cause a number of problems as soon as the issue begins. As is the case with most heating problems, there are a few different reasons why your heater may short cycle. The good news is that, in at least one case, you can resolve the issue on your own. The bad news? There are other cases where serious damage may result. Play it safe, and schedule prompt heating repair in Falcon, CO when necessary.

Is Your Heater Shutting Down Rapidly and Frequently?

If so, then it is short cycling. Your heater is not supposed to run constantly, of course, but it is supposed to run in full, even cycles. If you hear it starting and stopping constantly, then it is short cycling. That means that something is wrong. Now, it is a matter of determining what exactly that “something” is.

Rule Out the Best Case Scenario

And what might that be? A dirty air filter. It may sound surprising, but a dirty air filter can, in fact, be the cause of your heater’s short cycling. How is this possible? Because your heater is going to do its best to protect itself from damage.

If your air filter is very dirty, then it makes it harder for your heater to force heated air throughout your home. That means that your heater is going to be overexerting itself in doing so, which in turn can lead to overheating. If your system starts to overheat, then it may shut itself down to cool off and prevent damage. Keep a fresh filter in that forced air heater!

The Not-So-Best Case Scenarios

If your heater is not in possession of a very dirty air filter, then you are looking at malfunctioning equipment of some kind. You may need a new thermostat. Your gas furnace may have a faulty thermocouple that is registering unsafe combustion temperatures and shutting down the furnace as a safety precaution. That thermocouple may be working fine, and you may actually have unsafe combustion temperatures.

Then there are refrigerant leaks. If you use a heat pump to heat your home, you need to be on top of this. The entire heating cycle is dependent upon the refrigerant cycle. If your system doesn’t have the right amount of refrigerant due to leaks, then your compressor is at risk of irrevocable damages.

Schedule your heating services with Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning.

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