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Why Is My Heater Short Cycling?

Monday, December 25th, 2017 at 11:00 am

dog-under-blanketWhile not all homeowners are familiar with the term “short cycling,” many are nonetheless familiar with the symptoms of this condition. Short cycling is a problem in which a heater or an air conditioner starts up just fine, but then shuts back down in a rapid manner, only to restart and then shut back down once more. The cycle continues and continues—until, that is, the system can simply take no more! If your heater in Clovis, CA is short cycling this winter, the problem must be resolved ASAP.

There is some good news here, at least. Short cycling may be the result of a simple issue that you can resolve on your own. Unfortunately, it could also be the result of a much more serious problem posing a much more serious threat to your heating system. That is why it is so important that the issue is resolved at its core, and that you are not just treating the symptoms. Here are a few reasons why you may experience short cycling when trying to heat your home.

Your Air Filter Is Dirty

If you’ve read our blog before, then you have probably seen our advice regarding air filters. Specifically, you have probably seen us advocating for the regular changing of your air filter. In a forced air heating or cooling system, all of the air conditioned by the system passes through this filter. If that filter is very dirty, then you are going to run into trouble.

The airflow resistance can grow to the point that the system actually overheats as it tries to condition air and move it throughout the ductwork. When that happens, it will cycle down in order to protect its integrity. By keeping a fresh filter in your HVAC system, you can avoid this and other problems.

Your Heat Pump Has a Refrigerant Leak

Our relatively mild winter weather means that many homeowners in our area use heat pumps to keep their homes comfortable all year long. That means that refrigerant is used in both the heating and the cooling process. If your system has a low refrigerant charge due to leaks, short cycling may be the least of your worries.

As your system tries to take heat from the air outside and use it to heat your home, it is going to work harder and harder if the refrigerant is low. This can cause overheating, leading to short cycling. It can also cause irreversible damage to the compressor over time, though, so be sure to contact us if you have any reason to suspect a refrigerant leak.

Malfunctioning Components

This possibility lies somewhere between the previous two in terms of how serious it is. Your thermostat may be registering temperatures wrong, causing the system to shut down prematurely. You could also be experiencing a problem with your thermocouple, which will shut the system down if safe temperatures are not detected for fuel combustion.

Whatever the case, you need a trained technician to handle the work that will solve the problem. Don’t ignore short cycling, only to do serious damage to your system this winter. Call us at the first sign of trouble.

Let California Indoor Comfort Inc. handle your heating repairs. Where comfort and technology come together.

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