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

Having a smart thermostat isn’t just wise for spending less on heating expenses. It can also let you know if there’s a problem with your furnace.

The Google Nest is equipped with a function called Furnace Heads Up, which will alert you if it detects a problem with your heating system. You’ll see 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 what’s doing on and how you can fix it.

Your Furnace is Short Cycling

When you get the message “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” it’s saying your furnace is short cycling. Short cycling is when the furnace turns on for a short period of time then turns off. This HVAC game of red light, green light prevents your home from heating up and can increase your energy bill. It can also increase deterioration on your furnace. It may also be more likely to break down and may even require replacement sooner.

Without Furnace Heads Up, you might not detect your furnace is turning on and off frequently, since its blower fan might keep going. This feature can detect power interruptions that take place during short cycling.

How Do I Keep My Furnace from Short Cycling?

There are a few simple ways you can keep your furnace from short cycling.

Change Your Air Filter Regularly

If your air filter is too dirty, it will limit airflow. Your furnace will then shut down early to avoid overheating. We recommend changing flat filters every month, and pleated filters every three months. It’s simple to stay on top of changing your filter by setting up a Filter Reminder on your thermostat.

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

    • Press the ring to pull up the Quick View menu, where you’ll select “settings” and then “equipment.”
    • The thermostat will display the wires connected to it. Select “continue.”
    • You’ll see system components shown. Select “test.”
    • Choose “Furnace Heads Up” and follow the instructions. Your furnace will run a 15-minute heating check and give you the results when it’s finished.

Google says if the filter is clean or if your furnace didn’t pass the test, something else could be awry that needs professional help. If this happens, call Norrell Service Experts at 205-267-0023 for furnace repair.

Clean or Replace Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor

Having a dirty or malfunctioning 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 check for.

    • Take off the door from your furnace so you can look at the burners. If you have a viewport in the furnace door, you may not need to remove the door for this.
    • Switch on the furnace by setting the thermostat to a warmer indoor temperature.
    • When you switch on the heat, the fan will begin running first. You should notice it turn on.
    • The ignitor will begin 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 warm enough, the gas will switch on and the burners will light.
    • If the flame sensor can’t sense a flame, it’s usually due to the fact it’s dirty or defective. Your furnace will then turn off as a safety measure. If your furnace is short cycling, you’ll notice the flame and fan shutting down after a few seconds.

If you’re wondering how flame sensors could get dirty being bathed in fire constantly, a blend of moisture and chemicals in the air form a thin layer of carbon on the surface. Cleaning a dirty flame sensor will stop the short cycling problem. This job is best left to an Expert. That’s because an HVAC professional like Norrell 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 vents combustion gases outside through a PVC pipe. This pipe can get blocked by snow or bird nests, so you’ll want to ensure that it’s always clear. If the pipe gets blocked, it can result in your furnace overheating. 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 generally will stop these situations from happening. Households with small children will often find their kids have stuffed toy cars, sticks or nuts into the exhaust if it’s in an area that’s accessible by tiny hands. Even this small amount is enough to trip the pressure switch. The uneven flow of air into and out of the system triggers the pressure switch, which shuts down the burners. If this is the underlying cause of your problem, you will encounter short cycling and a furnace error code specifying the pressure switch was triggered.

An Expert HVAC technician from Norrell Service Experts can check the codes for you and determine the problem. Unfortunately, Nest has not developed to the point where it can interpret the error codes furnace manufacturers produce, so you will still require a pro to help you out.

Let the Experts Solve Your Short Cycling Furnace

If you get the message, “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating,” you know what to do. At Norrell Service Experts, our Experts have the expertise to fix any furnace problem quickly and affordably. What’s even better is that we back our repairs with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for one year.* To request your appointment, call us at 205-267-0023 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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