Having a smart thermostat isn’t just smart for saving on heating expenses. It can also alert you if there’s an issue with your furnace.
The Google Nest has a function called Furnace Heads Up, which will alert you if it senses a problem with your heating system. You’ll see the warning on the thermostat, in the app and in your monthly Nest Home report.
One of the most common problems is: “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating.” Here’s why this is happening and how you can correct it.
Your Furnace is Short Cycling
When you see the message “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” it's saying your furnace is short cycling. Short cycling is when the furnace switches on for a brief period of time then turns off. This HVAC game of red light, green light prevents your home from heating up and can drive up your energy bill. It can also increase deterioration on your furnace. It may also be more likely to break down and may even require replacement sooner.
Without Furnace Heads Up, you might not notice your furnace is turning on and off often, because its blower fan might keep running. This feature can recognize power interruptions that take place during short cycling.
How Do I Keep My Furnace from Short Cycling?
There are a few easy ways you can keep your furnace from short cycling.
Change Your Air Filter Regularly
If your air filter is too dirty, it will limit airflow. Your furnace will then shut off prematurely to avoid overheating. We encourage replacing flat filters every month, and pleated filters every three months. It’s easy to stay on top of replacing your filter by setting up a Filter Reminder on your thermostat.
If you’ve changed your filter after receiving a Furnace Heads Up alert, you can run a test to see if that fixes the problem.
- Push the ring to pull up the Quick View menu, where you’ll choose "settings" and then "equipment."
- The thermostat will display the wires connected to it. Choose "continue."
- You’ll see system components displayed. Hit "test."
- Select "Furnace Heads Up" and follow the instructions. Your furnace will run a 15-minute heating check and give you the results when it’s finished.
Google says if the filter is clean or if your furnace didn’t pass the test, something else could be wrong that needs professional help. If this happens, contact Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare at 289-813-5566 for furnace repair.
Clean or Replace Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor
Having a dirty or malfunctioning flame sensor is another top explanation why your furnace might short cycle. You can tell if there’s a problem by paying attention to your furnace as it starts up. Here’s what to check for.
- Remove the door from your furnace so you can look at the burners. If you have a viewport in the furnace door, you may not need to remove the door for this.
- Turn on the furnace by setting the thermostat to a higher indoor temperature.
- When you switch on the heat, the fan will begin running first. You should hear it turn on.
- The ignitor will begin to glow. The ignitor is either on the left or right of the burners, but it depends on the furnace model.
- Once the ignitor is warm enough, the gas will turn on and the burners will ignite.
- If the flame sensor can’t detect a flame, it’s usually because it’s dirty or malfunctioning. Your furnace will then turn off as a safety precaution. If your furnace is short cycling, you'll notice the flame and fan shutting off after a couple of seconds.
If you’re wondering how flame sensors could get dirty being bathed in fire continuously, a blend of moisture and chemicals in the air form a thin coating of carbon on the surface. Cleaning a dirty flame sensor will stop the short cycling problem. This job is best left to an Expert. That's because an HVAC professional like Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare will be able to clean it without breaking it or be able to tell you if you need a new one.
Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust Pipe Frequently
Your high-efficiency furnace vents combustion gases outside through a PVC pipe. This pipe can get clogged by snow or bird nests, so you’ll want to make sure it’s always clear. If the pipe gets blocked, it can cause your furnace to overheat. It could also cause carbon monoxide to flow back into your home, creating a potentially life-threatening situation.
However, modern furnaces are equipped with a pressure switch that generally will stop these situations from happening. Households with young children will often find their kids have jammed toy cars, sticks or nuts into the exhaust if it’s in a location that's accessible by little hands. Even this small amount is enough to trip the pressure switch. The uneven flow of air into and out of the system trips the pressure switch, which shuts down the burners. If this is the underlying cause of your problem, you will encounter short cycling and a furnace error code indicating the pressure switch was tripped.
An Expert HVAC technician from Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare can check the codes for you and determine the problem. Unfortunately, Nest has not developed to the point where it can interpret the error codes furnace manufacturers produce, so you will still require a pro to assist you.
Let the Experts Handle Your Short Cycling Furnace
If you get the message, “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” you know what to do. At Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare, our Experts have the expertise to resolve any furnace problem quickly and affordably. What’s even better is that we back our repairs with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for one year.* To request your appointment, contact us at 289-813-5566 or schedule online.
*Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.