Some people seem to think that the fact that their heaters are starting up when temperatures get too chilly for comfort means that those heaters are operating properly. That is not necessarily the case, though, particularly not when the heater is starting up again, and again, and again. If your heater is cycling on, but only running for a brief amount of time before cycling back down, then it is short cycling. This is a much bigger problem than some may realize.

Today we’ll help you to better understand precisely what can cause short cycling, as well as the issues that can develop when the problem is left unresolved. We think that you’ll agree when we say that it is definitely a problem that you do not want to ignore. Be sure to give a member of our team a call if you notice your system short cycling, or if you suspect the need for heating repair in Golden, CO for any other reason.

What Causes Short Cycling?

So why is it that a heater would start up, shut down, and start back up again in such rapid fashion? As is so often the case with heating system problems, there are a number of reasons that could be to blame. The “good” news here, if that term is fitting at all, is that not all of them are terribly serious.

Take, for instance, one of the most common issues: dirty air filters. It may sound unlikely, but simply failing to change your air filter frequently enough can result in your system short cycling. Too much airflow resistance is created, and the system overheats before shutting itself down to prevent damage.

Another issue is malfunctioning components in the system. This could be a thermostat that is registering temperatures incorrectly, causing the system to cycle down prematurely, or it could be a faulty thermocouple that is shutting the system down as a precautionary measure if it is registering unsafe combustion temperatures. This will require professional repairs/replacement of those components, but again, not incredibly serious. (Of course, the thermocouple could actually be working just fine, meaning that your system may not be functioning safely.)

Do you use a heat pump to heat your home? Then your short cycling could be due to a refrigerant leak. This is actually one of the most serious problems that the system could encounter. Refrigerant is something that must be maintained at a precise level for the system to function properly. Forcing a system to operate with low refrigerant levels can lead to irreparable damages over time.

The Problem with Short Cycling

Short cycling systems burn through more energy than they otherwise would, because it requires more energy to start a system up than it does to keep it running properly. Plus, there is the matter of overall comfort to consider. If you ask us, paying more for less comfort is not what you deserve. Of course, the added stress on a short cycling system also increases the risk of damages and repair needs.