How Often Should a Furnace Cycle? Homeowner’s Guide

How Often Should a Furnace Cycle? Homeowner’s Guide

How Often Should a Furnace Cycle? Homeowner’s Guide

How Often Should a Furnace Cycle? Homeowner’s GuideDuring the winter, you probably hear your furnace kicking on and off every now and then. This is normal, and not something that should concern you. But, how often should a furnace cycle off and on? If you hear it kicking off and on constantly, then that’s something you should have looked at.

I have been servicing furnaces for years, and know my way around every different kind, from oil, to gas, and electric. Most of the problems are consistent across the board, and in my years of servicing furnaces, I think I’ve seen it all.

In this article, I’ll explain a little more about what furnace cycling is, what common problems would cause it to short cycle, and how to fix the problem. If you are in the Chilhowie, VA area and need help with your furnace, give us a call at (276) 690-9222, or contact us online to schedule an appointment!

Furnace Cycling Explained

Short-Cycling (And Why It’s Bad)

Understanding furnace cycles is a good way to know if your furnace is running normally, or there is an issue. Short-cycling, a common issue in furnaces, occurs when your heating system turns on and off more frequently than normal, a “short-cycle”. This leads to increased wear and tear on the furnace, and also results in higher energy bills and inconsistent heating. The reasons for short-cycling vary, but they often indicate an underlying problem with the furnace or thermostat.

How Often Should Your Furnace Kick On?

The frequency at which your furnace should kick on depends on various factors, such as the outside temperature, the size of your home, and the efficiency of your heating system. Generally, during colder days, it’s normal for the furnace to cycle on more frequently. Ideally, a properly functioning furnace should cycle on and off three to eight times per hour.

How Long Should Your Furnace Run?

The duration of each heating cycle can vary based on similar factors that affect cycling frequency. Usually, a typical furnace should run for about 10 to 15 minutes during each cycle. This duration ensures that your home reaches the desired temperature efficiently without overworking the furnace. How long your furnace should run is a key indicator of its efficiency and health.

Furnace Short-Cycling: Common Causes

Electrical Issues

Electrical problems, such as faulty wiring or malfunctioning circuit boards, can cause erratic behavior in furnaces, including short-cycling. Regular maintenance will be able to take care of this before it becomes a problem, as the technician checks all the wiring and parts of your furnace.

Filter is Blocked

The Air Filter Could Be A Reason Your Furnace is Short CyclingA blocked or dirty filter restricts airflow, causing the furnace to overheat and shut off prematurely. You should change your air filter regularly to prevent this issue, and also keep the air in your home cleaner and healthier.

Thermostat is Faulty

A malfunctioning thermostat can send incorrect signals to the furnace, leading to short-cycling. This is another issue your technician should be able to check on a routine service call.

Furnace is Too Big For the House

An oversized furnace heats the home too quickly, causing it to turn off and on more often than necessary. This phenomenon, known as short-cycling, is not only inefficient but can significantly shorten the lifespan of your heating system. In the case of furnaces, bigger is not always better, and you should make sure you get the RIGHT sized furnace.

Additional FAQ: How Often Should a Furnace Cycle?

Is short cycling bad for a furnace?

Yes, short cycling is harmful to a furnace. It leads to excessive wear and tear, reduces efficiency, and can significantly shorten the lifespan of the heating system. Normal cycling is fine, but too often and it’s a problem.

Why does my furnace cycle so often?

Frequent cycling can be due to various reasons, including an oversized furnace, a dirty air filter, electrical issues, or a faulty thermostat. Call in a professional to take a look and assess the problem.

What is considered short-cycling for a furnace?

Short-cycling refers to a furnace turning on and off more frequently than normal, often without reaching the desired temperature. If your furnace cycles on and off more than eight times an hour or runs for less than 10 minutes per cycle, it may be considered short-cycling.

If you need help with your furnace, give us a call at (276) 690-9222, or contact us online to help you out!

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