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Serving All of Southern California Since 1954


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Greenleaf Heating & Cooling Blog

Does Your Heater Keep Shutting On and Off?


Homeowners may have two distinct reactions to a heater that is cycling on and off way too frequently. They may convince themselves that there is not really any problem, and that it’s just a quirk of the system. Or, they may panic, thinking something is terribly wrong, and contact us for immediate help.

The tricky thing is, this problem could be relatively minor—or it could be extremely serious.

This is why it’s important to take any heating issue seriously. Today, we’ll talk about this particular problem, and some potential causes to rule out on your own. We’ll also talk about why, if there is no obvious cause, prompt and professional service is in your best interest. Count on us for excellent heater service in Lakewood, CA.

A Good Reason to Check the Air Filter

We are always reminding homeowners of how important it is to change their air filters regularly. And you know what? We’ll do it again.

Change your air filter regularly!

Are you wondering how something like an air filter might tie into a short cycling heater (the name of the condition we’re talking about today)? It’s all about airflow. Or, the lack of airflow.

When a filter is too dirty, it makes it more and more difficult to force air through that filter. That makes the heater put in a lot of extra effort, and that can lead to overheating. The system may actually shut itself down to prevent damage related to that issue.

Think—Has It Always Been an Issue?

Checking your filter and swapping it out if it’s very dirty is a simple fix to an intimidating problem.

Replacing a whole system because it is too big for your home is quite the opposite. Unfortunately, if you’ve always had issues with short cycling, this could be exactly the issue that you’re facing.

It may sound counterintuitive—why would a big heater be a bad thing?

Well, it’s because an oversized heater can actually heat up homes too fast. We get it. That still doesn’t sound that bad. But consider this. The home heats up too fast. The heater cycles down too fast. The home cools off a bit. The heater kicks on, runs briefly, cycles back down. See the problem? Gradual, even heating is always the way to go.

Heat Pump-Specific

Do you use a heat pump to heat your home? Then congrats! You’re using one of the most efficient systems out there to heat your home. Plus, our climate is ideal for them.

However, remember that heat pumps use refrigerant to both heat and cool your home. So, if your heat pump is short cycling in either the winter or the summer, you may have a refrigerant leak on your hands. Don’t run a system that may have a refrigerant leak. You could do irreparable damage.

Have any questions about your heater? Any concerns? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Schedule your heating services with Greenleaf Heating & Cooling.

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