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

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

The Google Nest has a function called Furnace Heads Up, which will alert you if it detects a problem 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 frequent problems 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 short period of time then switches off. This HVAC game of red light, green light prevents your home from being warm and can drive up 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 sooner.

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

How Do I Keep My Furnace from Short Cycling?

There are a few easy ways you can prevent your furnace from short cycling.

Replace Your Air Filter Regularly

If your air filter is too dirty, it will restrict airflow. Your furnace will then shut down prematurely to avoid overheating. We recommend replacing 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 replaced your filter after getting a Furnace Heads Up alert, you can do a test to see if that repairs the problem.

  • Press the ring to bring up the Quick View menu, where you’ll choose "settings" and then "equipment."
  • The thermostat will show the wires connected to it. Select "continue."
  • You’ll see system components shown. Select "test."
  • Select "Furnace Heads Up" and follow the instructions. Your furnace will go through a 15-minute heating check and tell 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 wrong that requires professional assistance. If this happens, call Coastal Service Experts at 912-208-2399 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 paying attention to your furnace as it turns on. Here’s what to check for.

  • Remove the door from your furnace so you can look at the burners. If you have a viewport in the furnace door, you may not have 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 switch on and the burners will ignite.
  • If the flame sensor can’t detect a flame, it’s usually because it’s dirty or faulty. Your furnace will then shut off as a safety measure. If your furnace is short cycling, you'll notice the flame and fan shutting down after a couple of 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 coating 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 Coastal Service Experts will be able to clean it without damaging it or be able to tell you if it needs to be replaced.

Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust Pipe Frequently

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

However, modern furnaces are equipped with a pressure switch that typically will prevent these situations from occurring. Families with young children will often find their kids have stuffed toy cars, sticks or nuts into the exhaust if it’s in an area that can be reached by tiny hands. Even this small amount is enough to trigger the pressure switch. The uneven flow of air into and out of the system triggers the pressure switch, which shuts off 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 triggered.

An Expert HVAC technician from Coastal 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 assist you.

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 Coastal Service Experts, our Experts have the knowledge 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, contact us at 912-208-2399 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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