Solved: Nest Noticed Your Furnace Shuts Down Within 15 Minutes of Heating 

Using a smart thermostat isn’t just smart for saving on heating costs. It can also let you know 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 an issue with your heating system. You’ll notice the alert on the thermostat, in the app and in your monthly Nest Home report. 

One of the most common issues 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,” that means your furnace is short cycling. Short cycling is when the furnace switches on for a brief period of time then switches off. This HVAC game of red light, green light prevents your home from being warm and can increase your energy bill. It can also increase wear and tear on your furnace. It may also be more susceptible to breaking down and may even require replacement more quickly. 

Without Furnace Heads Up, you might not detect your furnace is turning on and off frequently, since its blower fan might keep running. This feature can recognize power interruptions that happen 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 Often 

If your air filter is too dirty, it will restrict airflow. Your furnace will then shut down prematurely to prevent overheating. We encourage changing flat filters once a month, and pleated filters every three months. It’s easy to stay on top of changing your filter by setting up a Filter Reminder on your thermostat. 

If you’ve changed your filter after getting a Furnace Heads Up alert, you can do a test to see if that repairs the problem. 

  • Push the ring to bring 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. Select “test.” 
  • Choose “Furnace Heads Up” and follow the instructions. Your furnace will go through a 15-minute heating test and tell you the results when it’s done. 

Google says if the filter is clean or if your furnace didn’t pass the test, something else could be wrong that requires professional help. If this happens, call Stevenson Service Experts at 614-334-3192 for furnace repair

Clean or Replace Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor 

Having a dirty or bad flame sensor is another top explanation why your furnace is short cycling. You can determine if there’s a problem by watching your furnace as it starts up. Here’s what to look for. 

  • Remove the door from your furnace so you can see 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 turn on the heat, the fan will begin running first. You should hear it turn on. 
  • The ignitor will start 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 hot enough, the gas will turn on and the burners will ignite. 
  • If the flame sensor can’t sense a flame, it’s usually due to the fact it’s dirty or faulty. Your furnace will then turn off as a safety precaution. If your furnace is short cycling, you’ll notice the flame and fan shutting down after a few seconds. 

If you’re questioning how flame sensors could get dirty being bathed in fire continuously, a blend of moisture and chemicals in the air form a thin layer of carbon on the surface. Cleaning a dirty flame sensor will end the short cycling issue. This job is best left to an Expert. That’s because an HVAC professional like Stevenson Service Experts will be able to clean it without breaking it or be able to tell you if it needs to be replaced. 

Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust Pipe Often 

Your high-efficiency furnace exhausts combustion gases outdoors through a PVC pipe. This pipe can get obstructed by snow or bird nests, so you’ll want to make sure it’s always clear. If the pipe gets plugged, it can cause your furnace to overheat. It could also result in carbon monoxide flowing back into your home, creating a potentially life-threatening situation. 

However, modern furnaces are equipped with a pressure switch that typically will prevent these situations from occurring. 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 tiny hands. Even this little 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 root of your problem, you will encounter short cycling and a furnace error code indicating the pressure switch was tripped. 

An Expert HVAC technician from Stevenson Service Experts can check the codes for you and diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, Nest has not evolved to the point where it can read the error codes furnace manufacturers create, so you will still need a pro to help you out. 

Let the Experts Solve Your Short Cycling Furnace 

If you receive the message, “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” you know what to do. At Stevenson Service Experts, our Experts have the expertise to resolve any furnace problem quickly and affordably. What’s even better is that we stand behind our repairs with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for one year.* To book your appointment, contact us at 614-334-3192 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. 

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