Why Is My Heater Starting and Stopping So Much?

cold-manOkay, so a heater that is starting and stopping is not really something to be worried about—provided that it is not starting and stopping very rapidly. Your heater, after all, should not be running nonstop. If it is, then there is a problem of some kind. It may even be too small for your home, meaning that it is running and running to produce a heating output that it really cannot achieve. If your heater starts up and runs very briefly before cycling back down, however, then it is short cycling.

This is a problem for a few different reasons. A heater that short cycles suffers a lot of wear and tear that it otherwise wouldn’t. That means it will degrade faster, shortening its lifespan and resulting in more frequent repair needs. It will also waste energy, as it uses more power to start a system up than it does to keep it running. Ultimately, you’ll likely be paying more for a weaker performance from your heater in Asheville, NC!

You May Just Need a New Air Filter

Okay, we shouldn’t say “just,” because there is nothing unimportant about this maintenance task, basic as it may be. There is no more important job that you can do yourself when it comes to your heater than changing its air filter! How could something as simple as a dirty air filter lead to short cycling?

Basically, a dirty filter is going to really restrict airflow in your heating system. When that happens, a forced air heater will start to overheat as it operates. The system will shut itself down as the temperature passes the safe heat limit to prevent damages. That can cause short cycling.

You Could Have a Refrigerant Leak

This is a very important one if you use a heat pump, which many people in our relatively mild winter climate do. If you have a refrigerant leak in your system, you’ll notice not just short cycling but also an overall drop in heating output. Your system may also start to really ice up. If you continue to run it in this condition, then serious damages can result.

Your heat pump does not generate new heat, remember. It transfers existing heat from the air outside in order to heat your home. When the heat pump is low on refrigerant, it is much harder for the system to do so. Don’t let a refrigerant leak lead to irrevocable heat pump damages!

You May Have an Oversized Heater

If you think that bigger is better because it means more heat, think again. Yes, it may mean more heat—but it could also mean too much heat too fast! If that doesn’t sound like a problem, consider this:

Your heater is supposed to run in full, even cycles. If it is so big that it heats your home too rapidly, then it will short cycle as it achieves temperatures too quickly. This is just another reason why professional heating system sizing and installation are so important.

Schedule your heating services with Comfort Central, Inc.

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