If your furnace is kicking on and off constantly throughout the day, it could be a sign of a serious problem. This condition is known as short-cycling because the cycle between turning on and off is much shorter than it should be. Here are some possible causes when your furnace short-cycles.
When your furnace doesn't get enough air circulation, it can overheat when it turns on. Then, as a safety mechanism, it shuts itself off. Restricted airflow might happen because the filter is dirty or because you put in the wrong kind of filter. It might also happen if you have furniture or drapes blocking the vents and restricting airflow. A dirty air handler or blower motor could possibly be to blame as well. Try changing the filter first and put in one that's recommended by the furnace manufacturer. It that doesn't help, you may need to call a heating repair service to clean and inspect the furnace to find out why it is short-cycling.
A malfunction inside the thermostat could be to blame if it causes the furnace to kick on and off randomly. Another possible problem is with the location of the thermostat. If it is too close to a window, that could be a problem if sunlight hits the thermostat or if a draft from a cracked window hits it. Check your windows to make sure they are closed. If you feel drafts, consider covering them plastic sheeting or other type of insulation. If the curtains are open and sun is hitting the thermostat, close the drapes and see if the problem corrects itself.
You may need to leave the curtains closed during certain times of the day to stop short-cycling. If the location of the thermostat is a problem, the HVAC repair person can move it to a better location in your home. Putting an end to short-cycling is important because it wears out your furnace and it can even damage it. Plus, the excess turning on and off will drive up your power bill and cause the furnace to lose its energy efficiency.
Anything that causes your furnace to overheat will cause it to short cycle. In return, short-cycling contributes to overheating, so you want the problem repaired as soon as possible. If it smells like something is burning inside the furnace, turn it off and wait for the repair service. Possible causes of overheating can be wiring problems, a damaged blower fan, dirty evaporator coils, and even leaving your fan set on high all the time.
Short-cycling is hard on your energy bill and it wears down your furnace. It can also be a danger to your family. Overheated wiring can be a fire hazard. When you notice your furnace turning on and off frequently, check the filter first and if it's not the cause, call a professional for help.
To learn more, contact a business such as West County Heating and Cooling.