Short cycling is a behavior in which your furnace starts turning itself on and off every few minutes. While this may seem like an odd-but-harmless quirk, it’s actually a very serious problem that can threaten the lifespan of your entire system. If you want your furnace to last as long as possible, you’re going to want to call for repairs as soon as you notice this happening. Let’s take a look at why short cycling happens, and the damage it can do.


Short cycling is often caused by the air filter in the furnace becoming clogged, which cuts off the flow of air into the furnace. This traps heat inside the furnace, which causes it to overheat. The limit switch then activates, which a special safety device that shuts down the furnace to protect it. The problem is that the limit switch has no way of solving the root cause of the overheating. When the furnace cools off and turns on again, it’s just going to overheat again and the cycle will continue.


The reason that short cycling is a problem is that it locks the furnace into the most stressful part of its cycle: the startup. Going through the startup cycle and then experiencing an emergency shutoff over and over again drastically increases the amount of wear and tear on the system, which causes an increased chance of breakdowns. If not fixed, short cycling can easily shorten the life of the furnace by many years. Short cycling also prevents the furnace from circulating warm air properly, so on top of having to replace your furnace you’re also going to have a cold house until it breaks down completely.

If you need to have your furnace repaired, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We serve all of Chevy Chase, MD.