If your house is warm, you may think that there’s nothing to worry about in terms of your heater’s condition. Sure, it seems like it’s starting up and shutting down super frequently, but like you said—the house is warm! That’s all that matters right?
If that’s your attitude toward your short cycling heater, which is the problem described above, then your home may not be comfortable for that much longer. Short cycling can do real damage over time. The good news? It may be a simple fix! The bad news? It could actually be quite serious. Here’s everything you need to know.
A Prime Example of Why Fresh Filters Matter
If there is a single piece of advice we give clients that is close to a mantra, it is change your air filter regularly. Maybe it’s because air filters are so cheap, or maybe it’s because they’re so easy to change, but for whatever reason, people just don’t seem to understand how important they are. Trust us, they may be cheap, they may be easy, but this is an essential step. And you’ll really be kicking yourself when you discover that skipping something so cheap and easy has caused big problems.
How does a dirty air filter cause short cycling? By increasing airflow resistance levels beyond what your heater can handle. When the filter is all clogged up and dirty, your system has to work harder than it should in order to force air through the system. That can lead to overheating. When the system starts to overheat, it may cycle down in an effort to cool off and reduce the risk of damages. Unfortunately, the constant starting and stopping itself can cause damages over time, too.
Potential Safety Concerns
Another reason why your system may cycle down too quickly is if the system itself is not operating properly. That can sometimes have implications for your safety. It’s possible, for instance, that your thermostat is not transmitting temperatures properly. That’s a frustrating situation, but it’s not dangerous.
However, you could also have an issue with combustion chamber levels not hitting the right temperature. That could lead the thermocouple to shut the system down so that there is not a safety issue. Or, the thermocouple itself may be malfunctioning! As you’re probably starting to understand, this “minor” or “annoying” issue can actually be quite serious, and diagnosing the actual cause can be pretty complex!
About That Heat Pump
Heat pumps are outstanding comfort systems, and we recommend them often. However, no HVAC system is perfect. Heat pumps are able to both heat and cool homes because they use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat, much like an AC. The difference is they can reverse that cycle to allow for highly efficient heating, as well.
If you use a heat pump and you experience short cycling, you might have a refrigerant leak. That is a major concern. It is likely the case if you experience short cycling and see ice on the system’s coils. Don’t run the system if you suspect a leak! That could lead to serious damages.