"Short cycling" isn't the name of some new fitness craze -- it's what happens when your furnace constantly turns itself on and off as it attempts to provide balanced temperatures for your home. Short cycling not only hurts your furnace through excessive wear and tear, but it also hurts your wallet by increasing your monthly utility bill. You can ignore short cycling, but be prepared to spend thousands of dollars to replace your furnace.
If your furnace has ongoing short cycling problems, the following tips can help putting into the issue. If your furnace is currently in good health, you can also use these tips to prevent short cycling from happening.
1. Check and Change Your Air Filter
When was the last time you actually checked and changed your air filter? If it's been a while, then it's probably at the center of your current short cycling woes. Dirty air filters can hinder airflow, putting your furnace's heat exchanger in danger of overheating. Your furnace will automatically shutdown to keep this from happening, but it can also end up short cycling as a result.
All you need to do is check and change your furnace's air filter on a regular basis. Some air filters need changing every 30 days, while others can go as long as 90 days before needing replacement.
2. Check Your Thermostat's Placement
Your thermostat's placement might not seem like something you should worry about, but installing your thermostat in the wrong location can lead to short cycling. If your thermostat is located too close to a heat source or in a place where cold drafts are common, it can read the wrong temperatures and cause the furnace to toggle on and off repeatedly in response.
Your thermostat should be located near the center of your home and away from any exterior walls. Your HVAC specialist can help you relocate the thermostat to a more suitable location if it's currently misplaced.
3. Have a Pro Check and Clean the Flame Sensor
A faulty flame sensor can encourage short cycling symptoms and keep your furnace from heating your home correctly. As the name implies, the flame sensor's job is to sense flames from the gas burner whenever the gas valve is open. If there's no flame detected, the sensor closes the gas valve to prevent the furnace and your home from being flooded with gas.
The flame sensor may not work correctly if it becomes corroded or caked in debris, in turn causing the furnace to start up and shut down repeatedly. Have your heating repair service specialist check the flame sensor and either clean or replace the component.