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Common Causes of Furnace Short Cycling Issues, Part 1

The last thing any homeowner wants during the cold Utah winter period is a malfunction in their furnace, and one possible such issue is known as short-cycling. Referring to issues with a furnace that is not turning on and off appropriately, short-cycling can be caused by several different possible culprits, and will bring results that range from limited heating capability to major stress on the system that causes it to wear down much faster than usual.

When you visit the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ll provide the kind of furnace repair and upkeep services that prevent short cycling and all other potential issues from taking place within your furnace and overall HVAC system. If you’ve never dealt with short-cycling before, this two-part blog series will dig into what it is and its numerous different potential causes, plus how you can ensure your furnace isn’t at risk of any of these.

causes furnace short cycling

Short Cycling Basics

As we noted above, short cycling is a condition related to the on and off cycles of your HVAC system. When a furnace is short cycling, that means it’s turning on and off far too often, way more frequently than a normal system would be. In many cases, it turns itself on and then off again so quickly that barely any heat is actually provided to the home before it shuts back down. As we also noted, this can lead to not only poor heating and an uncomfortable home, but also major strain on the HVAC components involved that often causes a need for earlier replacement.

Our subsequent sections will dig into the common reasons for short cycling, plus how you can prevent their risks.

Overheating Issues

The most common cause of furnace short cycling, and one that may play a role in certain other sub-causes as well, is the furnace attempting to protect itself from potential damage by turning off ahead of time. When furnaces overheat, they risk cracks in the heat exchanger, which can spread harmful carbon monoxide gas – the furnace is built to protect against this.

For this reason, the key to preventing short cycling is avoiding factors that lead to furnace overheating. The most common such factor is restricted air flow, whether due to poor ventilation or some other cause.

Furnace Filter Clogging

One such potential cause of restricted air flow: An HVAC filter that has gone too long without being changed or cleaned, and is therefore clogged and blocking air from flowing properly. This prevents air from returning into the furnace, which will overheat it and cause it to turn off. Filters should be replaced regularly to avoid this.

Flame Sensor Malfunction

In other cases, the flame sensor or flame rod in your furnace will shut off almost immediately after lighting. This tends to relate to issues in the inducer motor, where flame sensors do not properly register a flame and shut off the gas valve prematurely. Our team will be happy to clean or replace your flame sensor if we discover this is the cause of short cycling.

For more on the potential causes of furnace short cycling, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air provides excellent heating, air conditioning, plumbing, indoor air quality, water treatment and water heater services throughout the greater Salt Lake City, UT area, including the installation of new systems and components, and the replacement of the old, as well as ongoing repair and maintenance. Established in 1980, we have served the home comfort needs of our local community for over 30 years. Whether you need your stop and waste valve replaced or a new "green," energy–efficient HVAC system installed, we can make sure that the job is completed properly. Our HVAC contractors are NATE–certified and we employ Master and Journeyman plumbers. We are confident in our ability to satisfy any issue that may arise in your home, 24 hours a day. Give one of our friendly staff members a call today to learn more about what we can do for your home.

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When it comes to ensuring that you are comfortable during the winter months in Salt Lake City, you need to make certain that you have an excellent heating system. We offer comprehensive heating services in Salt Lake City, including installation, replacement, repair and maintenance services for a wide variety of equipment, including boilers, furnaces, and radiant heat systems. Whether you’d like to save more on your energy bills from month to month with an energy efficient heater or you want to retrofit a zone control system into your existing furnace setup, we provide heating solutions.

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For truly year–round comfort, your home needs an excellent air conditioner. At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air offers excellent air conditioning services throughout the Salt Lake City, UT area, from AC repair to maintenance, installation to replacement. We can make sure that your entire home is cooled to your satisfaction, no matter how hot and unpleasant it gets outside. We want you to feel comfortable in your home, and we have the experience and expertise to make sure that this is the case.

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Our services go well beyond HVAC, however. In addition to providing heating and cooling solutions, we provide a wide range of plumbing services throughout the Salt Lake City, UT area. From whole–house repiping to drain cleaning, water line installation to leak detection, sprinkler system timer repair to kitchen plumbing, we have got you covered. We can make sure that you are able to use water safely, effectively, and efficiently in your home.

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