Common Heating Issues: What Is Short Cycling?

When you live somewhere as cold as Southern Vermont, the last thing that you want to encounter is a problem of any kind with your home heating system. Unfortunately, there is simply no such thing as a heater that is truly 100% reliable. At some point you are likely going to run into trouble with your heater, which is unsurprising given how much you’ll be using it.

One problem that a lot of homeowners encounter, and one which many let slide for too long, is short cycling. In the following post, we’ll not only explain what short cycling is, but also why it is such a problem. Should your heater short cycle, be sure to schedule service with a member of our team immediately.

What Does “Short Cycling” Mean?

Short cycling is the situation in which your heater starts up, but runs only briefly before shutting back down. It does not complete a full heating cycle. If your heater is running only in short bursts, it is short cycling.

What Causes Short Cycling?

Like most heating problems, there are a few potential causes of short cycling.

  1. Dirty air filter. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow through the system enough that it overheats as heat gets trapped in the system. Simply changing the air filter can resolve the problem if this is indeed the cause.
  2. Faulty components. If your thermostat is registering the wrong temperature or your thermocouple is malfunctioning, these devices can lead to short cycling. A technician may be able to repair them, or that single malfunctioning component may need to be replaced.
  3. Over-sizing. If your heater is too big for your home, it may short cycle. This doesn’t sound like an obvious problem, but an oversized heater can actually wind up warming your home¬†too quickly. When that happens, it will cycle down before a full heating cycle is completed.

Short cycling puts a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on heaters, and that increases the risk of damage. It also wastes a lot of energy, as starting up over and over uses more power than running a full cycle. If your heater is short cycling, schedule professional heating repairs in Woodstock, VT immediately.

Call HB Energy Solutions for all your energy needs. HB Energy Solutions delivers peace of mind.


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