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Heater Issues
updated: May 02, 2014, 3:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

The heater in my rental has been switching on and off today, despite the fact that it's approaching 90 degrees in the house. It's an older house, heater in the attic. I turned the thermostat all the way down and it's still kicking on for about 30 seconds at a time. The gas company is sending someone to look at it now. Has anyone experienced something similar? Seems potentially very dangerous?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 515990 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 03:57 PM

Not that this will help, but I turn off the pilot light on my gas heater every March to November. Because this year was so mild I never turned it on. My gas company bills are under $10 every month.


 COMMENT 515994 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 04:08 PM

The gas company should be able to tell you what the problem is - most likely a malfunctioning thermostat. A basic thermostat is going to cost less than $20.


 COMMENT 515995 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 04:09 PM

We have had our UPS beep due to brown-outs this afternoon. Could they cause it?


 COMMENT 516001 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 04:19 PM

Only on hot days does our furnace come on and although I have not had the thermostat checked out, the heater itself was checked this winter by the Gas Company before the pilot was lit and all was okay. I am wondering if it comes on when the inside temp exceeded a certain point in order to circulate air inside the house. Just a thought....


 COMMENT 516012 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 05:00 PM

Do you have your thermostat set to "Cool."? If so, it is likely turning the fan (or blower) on only. If you are indeed getting heat, something is haywire in your thermostat or control panel in the unit.


 COMMENT 516018 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 05:26 PM

I agree with 012. The high limit switch is probably causing the fan to come on automatically. It's thinking the burner is heating the firebox, but it's actually because of the heat in the attic. Some high limit switches can adjusted. Someone (The Gas Co.?) might be able to adjust it or it may need to be replaced.


 COMMENT 516022P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-02 05:36 PM

Not sure if this is what is going on, but when things in the furnace - and mine is gas - get too warm, the fan alone kicks on to cool things down. I was told a long time ago not to put out the pilot, because we live close to the ocean - in the coastal zone - and keeping the pilot going and the fan circulating when necessary is good for the furnace. The heat is off, but the auto fan is on. Must be right, because we are still using the same gas furnace that was put in the house in 1962 :-).


 ZEBRA STRIPES agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-03 10:00 AM

We had a similar behavior with our heater, the gas company checked it, noticed a hairline crack, turned the gas supply off & had us contact a heater supply company. We needed a new heater, even though our heater was only 20 years old and only rarely used.


 COMMENT 516189 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-03 01:54 PM

Smart Meters :)


 COMMENT 516358 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-04 11:23 AM

The fan motor on most older heaters is not directly controlled by your wall thermostat. It is controlled by a heat sensor inside the fire box. This feature ensures that you do not get a flow of cold air for the first minute after the heat comes on and also prevents residual heat from being wasted after the gas is shut off by the thermostat. If your attic gets hot enough during hot weather with the sun beating down on the roof the heat sensor will trigger and run the fan. This can usually be adjusted but doing so can reduce the life of parts within. The heater and operating efficiency.


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