Why Does My Furnace Start and Stop?

Hello there, residents of Central Illinois! As the chill of fall settles in, many of us have started to rely on our trusty heating systems to keep our homes warm and comfortable. However, as we kick-start these systems after months of hibernation, you might notice an unusual occurrence. Your furnace might start… and then stop. Over and over again.

At Kelso Heating and Cooling, we’ve been assisting the community with their HVAC needs for years, and one common question we get asked is: “Why does my furnace start and stop repeatedly?” In HVAC lingo, this phenomenon is known as short cycling, and today we’re here to demystify it for you.

What is Short Cycling?

When your furnace turns on and off in quick succession, typically before it has reached the desired temperature, it is referred to as short cycling. Short cycling is not only inefficient, but it also puts unnecessary strain on your furnace, potentially leading to more frequent repairs and shorter system lifespan.

What Causes Short Cycling?

Several factors can contribute to a furnace short cycling. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Oversized Furnace

Contrary to what you might think, a bigger furnace isn’t necessarily a better furnace. An oversized furnace will heat your home too quickly, causing it to shut off after a short time. Then, as the temperature drops, it will start up again, creating a vicious cycle. Proper furnace sizing is essential to maintain an efficient and reliable heating system.

  1. Clogged Air Filters

A clogged air filter restricts the amount of air that can pass through your furnace, causing it to overheat and shut down prematurely. Regularly changing or cleaning your air filters can prevent this problem.

  1. Faulty Thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat may misread your home’s temperature and prematurely signal your furnace to shut off. If your thermostat is old or you’ve noticed other inconsistencies, it may be time for a replacement.

  1. Heat Exchanger Overheating

A lack of airflow from a clogged filter or blocked vents can cause the heat exchanger to overheat, triggering a safety device that shuts off the furnace. Once it cools, the furnace will restart, only to overheat and shut down again, causing short cycling.

What Can You Do About It?

The first step is understanding that short cycling is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Once you’ve identified that your furnace is short cycling, it’s time to call a professional. The root causes vary and might require different technical expertise to fix.

At Kelso Heating and Cooling, we offer comprehensive furnace inspections and can help identify the reason behind your furnace’s short cycling. Whether it’s a matter of replacing a clogged air filter or advising on the appropriate furnace size during a replacement, our team is prepared to assist and guide you.

The Bottom Line

Your furnace is a critical component of your home’s comfort, especially during the cold Central Illinois fall and winter. Understanding potential issues and taking proactive steps can ensure it serves you reliably and efficiently.

Remember, at Kelso Heating and Cooling, we are committed to keeping your home comfortable and your HVAC system running smoothly. Don’t let short cycling disrupt your peace of mind. Give us a call today for your heating needs. We are here to help!