Has Your Home’s Heating System Been Short-Cycling?

Winter weather has arrived in Lorton, VA, and you rely on your heating system to maintain a comfortable and consistent indoor temperature. A properly functioning heating system should rest for at least several minutes between heating cycles. When it doesn’t, this is called short-cycling. Here’s what you need to know about short-cycling so that you can take action to prevent disruption of your comfort.

What Short-Cycling Is

During a normal heating cycle, your heat pump or furnace should blow warm air through your vents until the set temperature is reached. It should then click off and stay off for several minutes. Short-cycling is when a cycle starts, ends abruptly, and then starts again within one or two minutes.

Causes of Short-cycling

Short cycles of your heating system can be caused by many things, including a dirty air filter. Check the filter at least every one to three months and clean or change it as needed. Short cycles can also be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat. If resetting the thermostat doesn’t help, you may need a repair. Some other causes of short-cycling include a faulty limiter, dirty flame sensor, clogged flue, or a damaged igniter. According to the National Energy Efficiency and Renewal Clearinghouse, oversized equipment can also lead to short heating cycles. Oversized heating systems waste money with their frequent cycles and higher installation costs, so it’s best to have experienced installers calculate your home’s heating load.

Why Frequent Cycling Is a Problem

Frequent, short heating cycles cause excessive wear and tear on the system. The capacitor or limiter may suddenly fail, which will prevent your heating system from turning on. Frequent and short cycles of the heating system could also decrease its lifespan, so you’ll incur the expense of having to prematurely replace it.

For more details about your heating options, take a look at Commonwealth Cooling & Heating’s heating repair page, or get in touch with us today to learn more about any of our services.

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