Oftentimes, it’s the most minor thing that can bring disaster to a system. A single line of code, a relatively miniscule exhaust port, the one linchpin that everything rests on in order to function properly. Believe it or not, a similar weak point exists in your furnace. The air filter is there to prevent dust and debris of various kinds from blowing into the system, and causing problems with its operation. It does this job well, capturing various contaminants as they flow in from the ducts. The problem, though, is that the air filter has no way of getting rid of the contaminants that it collects. If the system isn’t cleaned or replaced every few months, it will eventually become clogged. That’s when the serious problems start.
Short Cycling, and What it Does
A clogged air filter will block most of the air from flowing into the furnace. Without air flow to carry cool air into the furnace, and transport heat throughout the house, the temperature inside the system will start to rise. Once the temperature gets above established safety limits, the limit switch will activate and shut down the system. The furnace will go through a cool-off period, after which point it will attempt to reactivate and finish its cleaning cycle. If the air filter has not been replaced, though, the furnace will overheat again and the cycle will continue. This behavior is called short cycling.
It should come as no surprise that constantly overheating, shutting down, and restarting is very hard on the furnace. Prolonged short cycling causes all kinds of issues that both harm the system in the short-term and long-term. Output drops substantially, since the furnace can’t actually circulate air through the house. Wear and tear on the system increases, causing parts of the furnace to become more prone to breakdowns. If the problem is not fixed quickly enough, the lifespan of the furnace as a whole could be reduced by years. A short cycling furnace is not going to be able to do its job, and will need to be replaced much sooner than it otherwise would be.
How to Deal with Short Cycling
The best way to deal with short cycling is to do everything you can to prevent it in the first place. Replace your air filter at least once every three months. If you’re not sure where your air filter is, call a professional and have them show you how to do it. This is one of the best ways to make sure that your furnace doesn’t start to short cycle. There are other ways for short cycling to occur as well, though, which are best prevented by scheduling maintenance at least once a year. If your furnace does happen to start short cycling, turn it off and call for repairs as soon as possible.
Climate Masters offers furnace repair and maintenance services in St. Augustine, FL. If you need furnace services, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians.