A silver Carrier company infinity furnace in a garage
furnace heat exchanger ignited

7 Tips To Fix Your Short-Cycling Furnace

Your furnace isn’t a bike — it shouldn’t be short-cycling anywhere. That’s where we come in! Furnaces are meant to come on three to eight times per hour and run for several minutes at a time.

If your furnace keeps turning off and on, you’re experiencing short-cycling. Short-cycling is when your furnace comes on, runs for a minute or two, and then shuts off without properly heating the house.

This is an important issue because a working furnace is what ensures that you and your house stay warm, especially during winter in Rhode Island. In this article, we’ll explore what to do if your furnace is short-cycling.

If you have a heating, electrical, or plumbing issue, give HomeX Remote Assist a try. You’ll be connected with a vetted technician over the phone or through video chat to diagnose and even fix your issue virtually.

What To Do When Your Furnace Keeps Cycling On & Off

The reason your furnace won’t stay on is probably related to a safety device in your furnace that’s being tripped, causing your furnace to shut down.

Due to the complexity of this issue, repairing it requires a professional, and expert technicians are here to help you find the best solution. Here are some of your options:

Solution #1: Replacing Your Dirty Air Filter To Improve Airflow

If there’s not enough airflow, a high-temperature limit control will shut the furnace off. To ensure that air can move freely throughout your furnace, you need to clean or change your air filter.

GEM technician changing filter in ceiling

Call GEM today, and a technician will be happy to replace your filters for you.

Solution #2: Rebooting Your Thermostat Wires To Fix A Faulty Thermostat

Your furnace may be turning on and off again because the thermostat is faulty. If you’re comfortable and well-acquainted with electrical systems, here’s a quick way for you to see whether a faulty thermostat is causing your issue.

Technician Setting a Smart Thermostat

Adjusting electrical equipment can be dangerous, so we recommend contacting a professional to help determine whether your thermostat is faulty.

  1. If needed, pop the cover off your thermostat.
  2. Carefully unscrew the white wire and the red wire and connect them for at least five minutes.

If your furnace runs normally without short-cycling, you need to replace the thermostat. GEM’s licensed technicians are well-equipped to replace your heating system’s thermostat. Schedule an appointment to get your furnace back on track.

Solution #3: Replacing Your Furnace’s Blower Motor

The blower motor in your furnace turns the fan that circulates and pushes warm air into your home. Without the furnace blower motor, warm air won’t be released, and your home won’t be able to maintain the temperature set on your thermostat.

The high-limit temperature control will shut off your furnace if your blower motor isn’t working properly. If this is the source of the issue, you’ll need to replace your furnace’ ‘s blower motor.

Call GEM today, and a furnace repair technician will take a look and see if you need a new blower motor.

Solution #4: Cleaning Your Clogged Flue Pipe To Allow Proper Airflow

The flue pipe is a component that works to ventilate unwanted exhaust and combustion byproducts out of your home. It’s thanks to this pipe that accidental fires don’t start by way of your furnace.

To do so, when there’s a problem with the flue pipe (such as a blockage), the flue limit switch will shut down the furnace.

Before calling a technician, you can check to see if this is the issue. Here’s how to check for a clogged/restricted flue:

  1. Carefully go up on your roof to check if there’s air coming out of the flue pipe. It may be hot, so be cautious before touching it.
  2. If the airflow seems weak, turn the furnace off.
  3. Pull the vent cap off and look down the flue for any restrictions or blockages, such as debris.

Hint: The most common cause is critters trying to nest in your flue.

If it’s clogged, debris will have to be cleaned out of the flue. Call a technician today to get it taken care of.

Solution #5: Replacing Your Condensate Pump To Allow Proper Drainage

For a furnace to work properly, it will produce condensate, water vapor, as a byproduct of combustion. New high-efficiency condensing furnaces, called condensing furnaces, run that condensate through a drain tube.

If the tube is clogged or the condensate pump fails, the condensate will back up and a safety device will shut the furnace off.

A GEM technician can replace your condensate pump to make sure your furnace is draining properly.

Solution #6: Cleaning Or Replacing Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor

If you hear the furnace come on for a minute, shut down, and then try to come on again three times in a row, the flame sensor isn’t sensing a flame. If a flame is there, then the problem is the sensor.

If either of these is the case, you’ll need to have your flame sensor cleaned or replaced by a technician.

Solution #7: Replacing Your Furnace With One Better For Your Home & Its Needs

If you recently added new insulation and energy-efficient windows, your furnace may be sized incorrectly. Believe it or not, sometimes furnaces can be too big.

The solution is a furnace with a lower heating capacity. Contact GEM to speak to a heating and cooling specialist about what options are best for you and your home.

If one of these problems was causing your issue, we’re glad we could help you track it down. Now you’re all set and back to normal with a warm, cozy home.

If these troubleshooting solutions didn’t help, or you need more assistance, contact us today, and a GEM technician can give you a hand.

Featured Related Articles