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Proudly Serving Yakima, Ellensburg, Cle Elum, and the Surrounding Areas Since 1998


ThermAll Heating, Cooling & Electric Blog

Why Won’t Your Heating System Turn Off Regularly?


Once you turn your heating system during the fall, you’ll expect it to follow a standard pattern. When the temperature becomes cold enough, the heater will turn on and run in cycles around 15 to 20 minutes long, then shutting down for around 10 minutes and turning back on if the temperature is still low. 

But you may run into a problem with your heater turning on and off at odd times. Maybe it’s running for too long, not turning off when you expect it to and making the house too hot. Or maybe it’s turning off too frequently, starting and stopping throughout the day so that it never keeps on long enough to properly warm the house.

We’re going to look into the reasons you’ve got a heating system that isn’t turning off with its normal regularity. In some cases, you can solve the problem on your own. In others, you’ll need to call professionals for heating repair in Ellensburg, WA.


This is the name for when a heating system turns off early, then turns back on again a short time later, creating a rapid cycling problem. Short-cycling not only makes it hard for a heater to stay on long enough to evenly heat a house, it places immense strain on the components and wastes tremendous amounts of energy. Here are some of possible causes:

  • The thermostat isn’t working right and is sensing the house is warmer than it is. This will cause it to shut the heater off prematurely.
  • The heater had a clogged blower filter, causing extra heat to become trapped in the system. The heater will overheat and shut down early.
  • If you use a heat pump for heating, it may have lost refrigerant to leaks. 
  • There are blocked vents in the house placing extra pressure on the HVAC system.
  • The heater was incorrectly installed so it’s too large for the house. This is a possibility if the heating system is new and it was installed by amateurs.

Extended Cycles

What will cause a heater to run for longer than normal?

  • Again, thermostat miscalibration might be the issue—except this time the thermostat is reading the house as colder than it actually is. Additionally, the thermostat may lose the connection that it uses to shut the heater down.
  • A dirty air filter can also cause this because the heater cannot draw enough air into the system to warm up the house. It will have to run for longer to reach the target temperature on the thermostat.
  • The ductwork has leaks, allowing heated air to escape and pushing the heater to have to run for longer to replace that lost air. 
  • The blower fan has a faulty motor.

Possible Simple Solutions

  • Check the air filter. Clogged filters are often the cause of heater malfunctions, so change the filter for a new one. We recommend changing the filter every one to three months.
  • Do some experimenting with the thermostat. It’s possible an incorrect setting has caused the problem or an older program has gotten triggered.
  • Check around the house to see if any vents have been accidentally blocked by moved furniture, rugs, etc.

Calling the Professionals

If the above steps don’t work, it’s time to get the pros on the job. You don’t want to attempt to make any repairs on your own. Only experts know how to make a correct diagnosis of cycling problems and then repair them.

Call ThermAll Heating & Cooling, Inc: We are “Your Home Comfort Hero!”

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