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5 Reasons Why Your Furnace Is Short Cycling

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Is Your Furnace Frequently Turning On and Off? Here’s Why

Are you experiencing your home’s furnace turning on and off repeatedly, regardless of the actual room temperature? This phenomenon, known as short cycling, is not just a minor inconvenience. It’s a warning sign indicating potential issues with your heating system that could lead to higher utility bills and even irreversible damage to your furnace. There’s nothing worse than inadequate heating during one of Austin’s harsh cold snaps. 

At The HVAC Cowboys, we’re dedicated to helping families and businesses in Austin, Texas, understand and resolve their HVAC concerns. Here are five common reasons behind furnace short cycling and some troubleshooting tips. If these issues persist, don’t hesitate to contact us for expert assistance.

  1. Dirty Air Filters

Believe it or not, a clogged air filter is a primary culprit for short cycling. When warm air can’t pass through a dirty air filter, your thermostat may repeatedly trigger the furnace to compensate. Regularly changing your air filter every three to four months is a cost-effective way to avoid this problem. We recommend air filters that are 1 to 2 inches thick, possibly even HEPA air filters if you suffer from allergies. 

  1. Blocked Vents

Closed or obstructed air vents in your home can disrupt heat distribution, leading to short cycling. Ensure all vents are open and unblocked, even in rooms you don’t use often, to maintain consistent airflow and heating. With vents closed or blocked throughout the house, you will experience an over abundance of heat in one room and frigid conditions in other rooms. 

  1. Thermostat Issues

An outdated or malfunctioning thermostat can send incorrect signals to your furnace, causing it to turn on and off unexpectedly. Check the batteries, wiring, and location of your thermostat. If it’s near a heat source, it might misread the actual room temperature. In such cases, repositioning or upgrading your thermostat is advisable. Using a programmable or smart thermostat can help to keep your home a constant temperature during the times you need warm air the most. 

  1. Faulty Flame Sensor

A compromised flame sensor prevents your system from detecting a flame, causing the furnace to shut down as a safety measure. Inspect the sensor for visible dirt or corrosion. Cleaning it with fine-grit emery cloth may resolve the issue, but if it’s damaged, replacement is necessary. Given the sensitivity of the sensor and the obvious safety issues, we recommend contacting The HVAC Cowboys to help you service or repair your flame sensor. 

  1. Incorrect Furnace Size

The size of your furnace should match your home’s square footage and climate zone. An oversized furnace heats up and shuts down too quickly, causing uneven heating. Conversely, an undersized one will overwork without adequately heating your home. In such cases, a furnace replacement tailored to your home’s needs is essential. Call The HVAC Cowboys to inspect your furnace and the size of your home to see if your home heating system is the right fit for your needs. 

Need Professional Help?

If you’re facing persistent short cycling issues, don’t risk high energy bills or potential furnace damage. Contact The HVAC Cowboys for a comprehensive checkup of your HVAC system. We’re committed to ensuring your furnace operates efficiently and reliably, providing consistent comfort throughout the Austin winters.