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

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

The Google Nest is equipped with a function called Furnace Heads Up, which will let you know if it notices an issue with your heating system. You’ll notice the warning on the thermostat, in the app and in your monthly Nest Home report.

One of the most frequent 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 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 switches 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 susceptible to breaking down and may even need to be replaced sooner.

Without Furnace Heads Up, you might not notice your furnace is turning on and off frequently, since its blower fan might keep running. This feature can recognize 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 off 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 replacing your filter by adding a Filter Reminder on your thermostat.

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

  • Push the ring to pull 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. Hit "test."
  • Choose "Furnace Heads Up" and follow the instructions. Your furnace will go through 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 wrong that requires professional help. If this happens, call Levy & Son Service Experts at 469-250-0932 for furnace repair.

Clean or Replace Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor

Having a dirty or bad flame sensor is another top reason 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 look 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 have to remove the door for this.
  • Turn on the furnace by setting the thermostat to a warmer indoor temperature.
  • When you turn on the heat, the fan will begin running first. You should hear 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 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 malfunctioning. Your furnace will then shut off as a safety precaution. If your furnace is short cycling, you'll notice the flame and fan shutting off after a couple of 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 coating of carbon on the surface. Cleaning a dirty flame sensor will stop the short cycling issue. This job is best left to an Expert. That's because an HVAC professional like Levy & Son Service Experts will be able to clean it without breaking it or be able to tell you if you need a new one.

Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust Pipe Often

Your high-efficiency furnace exhausts combustion gases outside through a PVC pipe. This pipe can get blocked 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 fatal situation.

However, modern furnaces have a pressure switch that typically will stop these situations from occurring. 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 indicating the pressure switch was triggered.

An Expert HVAC technician from Levy & Son Service Experts can check the codes for you and diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, Nest has not evolved 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 Handle 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 Levy & Son Service Experts, our Experts have the expertise to fix 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 request your appointment, call us at 469-250-0932 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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