The winter weather will take a toll on your furnace and your system may have to work overtime after months of being dormant. It is normal for your furnace to cycle throughout the day, but if you find that it’s turning on constantly, you may have a problem.

If you’re wondering how often your furnace should cycle in the winter, the answer is a somewhat complicated one because it’s a gray area. Generally speaking, furnaces should kick on and turn off somewhere between three to eight times per hour, although it’s not necessarily concerning if you find that your furnace turns on and off more frequently. The reality is that there are several variables that will affect the number of times your furnace runs per hour, including your home’s insulation, outdoor air temperatures, and characteristics of your house and the age of the furnace. In some cases, frequent cycling will indicate that there is a problem with your system, so you need to investigate the situation.

There are a number of reasons why your furnace may be cycling on and off, including an oversized system. Bigger is not always better because while it would heat a smaller home faster, it will not evenly distribute the air, so the system will short cycle as a result. If your furnace is overheating, this too will cause short cycling, as will an old furnace and a malfunctioning thermostat. Always check the age of your furnace because as your system gets older, it may cycle on and off more frequently and will not run as efficiently as before. In this case, short cycling is a sign that you need to buy a newer unit. The thermostat is what tells your furnace when to cycle, so if this component malfunctions or breaks, your unit will not know when to stop running. It is a must that you place the thermostat in the proper location, as this will play a key role and will prevent it from cycling too often. Your thermostat should never be too close to a heat source or in direct sunlight.

Extremely cold weather will cause your furnace to kick on more frequently, but it shouldn’t turn on and off every few minutes because of icy temperatures. Your furnace will try to keep up with the outside temperatures, so it may have to cycle more often, but the cycles should last until your home reaches its desired temperature. If you’re not sure whether the constant cycles are a result of very cold weather or a more serious problem, take a look at how well your home is insulated. If you’re losing too much heat through your roof, doorways or windows, your furnace will have to run more often. If, however, your furnace only turns on for a few minutes at a time and your home never seems to warm up, it’s likely due to short cycling and your furnace should be inspected.

The experts at Your Local HVAC Team will make sure your furnace is running smoothly all winter long. If you have a problem, we will diagnose the issue and our skilled technicians will repair it right away, so if you’d like more information, contact us today!