Cleaning A Furnace Air Filter To Avoid Short Cycling

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Furnaces go through a series of cycles when running that ensure a house warms up efficiently. However, a dirty air filter can cause the furnace to short cycle, a problem that can devastate the efficiency of a furnace. Here's what causes this problem and how to deal with it.

The Nature Of Short Cycling

Short cycling occurs when a heater runs for a short period of time before shutting down. Normally, a heater runs until the thermostat reaches the proper temperature. However, short cycling cuts it off before it reaches that level. As a result, the furnace may kick on multiple times before it fully heats the home.

When that happens a furnace runs more efficiently because it has to run more often to create the same level of heat. While there are many causes of this problem, the easiest to fix is a dirty filter. It is the one problem that a homeowner can likely fix on their own.

What Clogs A Furnace Filter?

So why do furnace filters get clogged? As a furnace runs, they filter collects all the dust, dirt, and junk that flows through the system. A good filter will collect all of these items over time, but it will eventually get too dirty to use. There are also other influences that can cause it to get dirty, such as running the AC fan continually or using thin filters.

Thankfully, it is possible to clean this filter and to break the short cycling problem plaguing a heater. In this way, a heater will run more smoothly and efficiently without using excessive electricity.

Changing A Filter

When the air filter in a furnace gets too dirty, it is time to change it. The first step in this process is to completely turn off the furnace and to open up the return air vent. There should be a filter here in most furnaces. If not, open up the furnace and look for a filter. It will be obviously noted by a large arrow indicating the flow of the air. This is also the direction the filter needs to be installed.

Next, it is time to check if the filter is reusable. Any that has a plastic frame can be taken out, cleaned with a vacuum, and reinstalled. However, if the filter is not replaceable, it is time to buy a new one and insert it where the old filter was located. Take the old filter into the shop to gauge its size when buying a new model. They typically come in sizes of 1-2 inches thick.

This process should help avoid the necessity of repairing or replacing a furnace. However, if the short cycling continues after changing the filter, a more serious problem is at work. This will require a professional furnace repair job to fix.

For more information, you will want to contact a company such as HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.