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Premier Heating & Air Blog

Why Is My Heater Shutting Off Early?


The HVAC system in your home is designed to turn on the heating system when the thermostat registers that the household needs warmth. The thermostat signals the heater to start its heating cycle, and then it runs until the thermostat detects the home’s temperature has reached its target setting. The thermostat then has the heater cycle down until it’s needed again.

As the winter temperatures continue to fall, you’ll notice your heating system will run in longer cycles. This is normal: your house will lose more heat to the outside, requiring the heater to run for longer to reach your desired temperature. (We recommend a setting of 68°F, which not only makes the heater run less often but also slows down heat loss to the outdoors.) 

But you may be experiencing something … different. A heater that seems to run in shorter and shorter cycles, shutting off early before it can heat up the house enough, then turning back on a short time later and repeating the process. Why is your heater doing this? And what can you do about it?

Some of the Causes of a Heater Shutting Off Early

To help us understand better what’s happening, we need to know what kind of heating system you have.

Heat pump/ductless mini splits

If you use a heat pump or ductless mini split (which is a type of heat pump), what you’re experiencing is a problem that can often affect refrigeration systems: short cycling. The heat pump has become trapped in its start-up cycle, shutting down and starting up again and again. This wastes a tremendous amount of energy (something you’ll see on your electric bills) and places a massive strain on components and leads to repairs and parts replacements. 

There are several sources of a heat pump short-cycling. We recommend you first check on the HVAC system filter to see if it’s clogged and needs to be replaced. If this isn’t the source, you may have a defective thermostat, refrigerant leaks, a faulty control board, or even a heat pump that’s too large for the house. 


When a furnace shuts down early, the most common cause is that it’s overheating. A furnace has a limit switch that will activate to shut the system off in case it overheats. This protects the furnace’s components and also helps prevent safety hazards. A furnace can overheat because of worn-down motors or poor airflow through the system that is trapping excess heat inside it. 

Solving the Problem

Unless a clogged air filter is the reason your home heating system is shutting off early, you’ll need to have professionals investigate the heater to see what’s wrong and how to fix it. Some possible repairs include:

  • Replacing worn-out motors
  • Fixing the control board
  • Recalibrating the thermostat
  • Balancing airflow
  • Sealing refrigerant leaks and restoring lost refrigerant

If your heating system is more than 15 years old, technicians will probably recommend you have it replaced. A heater this old will have enough wear and tear on it to cause short-cycling as well as other problems, and it’s more cost-effective to start with a new heating system. 

Our expert technicians will see you get the heating service in Conyers, GA you need to have a working heating system again.

Premier Heating & Air has been family-owned and operated since 2001. Experience the Premier difference!

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