Skip navigation


Riley Heating & Air Blog

Possible Causes of Constant Furnace Cycling

The constant on and off function of a furnace is known as short cycling, and it needs to be addressed promptly to limit the impact on your energy bills, home comfort and system components. As weather gets colder, it’s not unusual for the furnace to operate more frequently. However, a quick progression between on and off activity without much impact on your home’s temperatures is abnormal.

Why Does My Furnace Turn On and Off Quickly?

When your temperature setting on the thermostat exceeds the reading of the indoor temperature, a call for heat is initiated. The thermostat signals the furnace to ignite and operate. When the target temperature is reached, the call for heat is cancelled, and the thermostat instructs the furnace to cease operation. There are several causes of frequent furnace cycling, including the following:

  • Thermostat problems – a bad thermostat can lead to inconsistent behavior in your system. Bad batteries can also trigger system malfunctions. A battery change could rectify the issue without a service call, but a bad thermostat will require professional diagnostics.
  • Airflow restrictions – one of the most common problems in furnace operation is a dirty filter. A clogged unit can prevent sufficient airflow and lead to issues like overheating, often causing a furnace to cease operating. Similarly, blockages in ducts and over vents can lead to trouble. Never allow more than 20 percent of your vents to be closed at a given time.
  • Internal system components – safety mechanisms, sensors and other parts can fail, leading to unusual system activity. For safety reasons, these must be diagnosed by an HVAC professional. The combination of electronic components and a gas-fueled system can pose serious dangers if handled incorrectly.

You can check for an error code if you have a modern system. This will help you to pinpoint potential issues in your owner’s literature. However, if your issue isn’t resolved with a battery or filter change, you need to get in touch with your heating professional.

Make System Maintenance a Priority

The operation of your furnace leads to wear on internal parts from the time it is first placed in service. For both safety and financial reasons, it’s wise to invest in an annual inspection by a certified HVAC technician. In addition to cleaning important parts, your technician will inspect for cracks, corrosion, leaks and other signs of potential problems. With an optimized unit, you can expect your heating bills for the winter to be minimized. Additionally, you can often limit your risk of problems like frequent furnace cycling. A well-maintained furnace can last between 20 and 30 years, and professional service limits your risk of safety hazards as well.

The professionals at Riley Heating & Air Conditioning are available on a 24-hour basis to address your heating emergencies. We can evaluate and repair your furnace if you are experiencing constant cycling problems. We can also schedule a maintenance and safety call at your Columbus, GA, home. Call our office to schedule your appointment today.

Comments are closed.