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What to Do About Furnace Short Cycling

Is your furnace turning itself on and off every few minutes? If so, you may have a problem. That kind of behavior is indicative of an issue called “short cycling.” If it isn’t corrected in time, short cycling will almost certainly cause the furnace to break down. Let’s take a look at what causes short cycling, and how you can protect your system from it.

The Cause of Short Cycling

Your furnace starts to short cycle when heat becomes trapped in the system, usually because of a clogged air filter. As the temperature in the furnace continues to rise, the limit switch activates and shuts down the system. The limit switch can’t actually fix the problem, though. It can only delay it for a little while. So, when the furnace reactivates it will overheat again and the limit switch will shut it down once more. This cycle continues indefinitely.

The Problem of Short Cycling

The real issue with short cycling is that it locks your furnace into the most stressful part of its operating cycle: the startup. This prevents your furnace from adequately heating your home, because it never stays on long enough to really circulate heat. However, it also drastically increases the amount of wear and tear on the system. It is this increased rate of wear and tear that causes the furnace to develop problems much more rapidly, and eventually break down entirely. A furnace cannot last very long while short cycling; the stress is just too much to handle. If you want to save your furnace, you should call for repairs as soon as it starts short cycling.

If your furnace is in need of repair, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We offer a full range of furnace repair services throughout Chicago, IL.  

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