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How Often Should a Furnace Cycle in the Winter?

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How Often Should a Furnace Cycle in the Winter?

While different furnace models have their differences, they all have the same function and achieve the same purpose. A majority of furnaces will operate similar heating cycles to maintain the set temperature on your thermostat. How often should your furnace cycle in the winter season? While different systems may differ slightly, every furnace should operate for a similar amount of time during each heating cycle.

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How Often Will a Furnace Turn On & Off in the Winter?

During an average heating cycle, a furnace should operate for 10-15 minutes. If you’re wondering how often furnaces cycle, the answer is: it depends. Furnaces in homes with average insulation might run two to three cycles per hour to heat the living space properly.

Here are some factors that impact how long a furnace will operate during an average heating cycle:

  • Outside Temperature: As outside temperatures drop, the temperature in your home drops along with it. The colder your home gets, the longer your furnace will take to heat your home thoroughly.
  • Thermostat Setting: When a furnace reaches its operating limits, it may perform longer heating cycles to maintain the temperature you set it to on your thermostat.

Top 6 Furnace Problems

Furnaces can experience various issues, but here are the top six problems you might notice:

1. High Heating Capacity

Your furnace should emit a certain amount of heat per heating cycle. If some of the heat is not circulated in your home, your furnace may shut off early and perform additional cycles each hour in the winter to prevent overheating issues.

2. Dirty Furnace Filter

A furnace with a dirty filter can’t bring in as much air as it needs to operate properly. In this case, your furnace might overheat because the heat exchanger needs airflow to regulate its temperature.

3. Incorrect Duct Configuration

Incorrect duct configuration prevents proper airflow into the system. Slower airflow forces the furnace to take longer to heat your home and can cause your system to shut off due to overheating.

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4. Malfunctioning Thermostat

If your thermostat malfunctions, your furnace might run too short or too long, run at the wrong temperature, or go through irregular heating cycles. If you notice your furnace is performing a large amount of cycles in the winter, call a professional to inspect your thermostat to ensure it is operating properly.

5. Wrong Sized System

You might think that a slightly too small or slightly too big furnace is not a big deal, but it can cause your system to run heating cycles that are too long or too short. If you believe your furnace is performing an excessive amount of cycles, this is a sign the system is an incorrect capacity. Incorrect cycles result in either faster or slower heating throughout your home and wear down your furnace prematurely.

6. Defective Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger in your furnace transfers heat from the flames to the air flowing into the system. A defective heat exchanger will lengthen heating cycles and take the furnace longer to heat your home adequately.

Broken Furnace

4 Signs It’s Time To Perform a Furnace Repair

The most important thing to know about furnaces is when they need repairs. Whether it’s a quick fix or an overhaul, here are some signs that you need to schedule furnace repairs ASAP:

1. Strange Furnace Odors

A strange-smelling furnace is hard to miss. While it’s normal for a furnace to smell slightly like gas when you turn it on for the first time all year, a furnace that emits an unusual odor for more than a couple of hours could indicate an underlying problem. If your furnace is producing odors or you notice it’s too many cycles per hour in the winter, call a certified technician to inspect your system.

2. Difficulty Activating the System

As furnaces age, they take longer to turn on and stay on. If you are having difficulty activating your furnace to perform a heating cycle, this is a sign it’s time to call a professional to inspect the issue. Your system likely only needs a new part to replace one that got damaged.

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3. Inadequate Heat

If your furnace takes forever to heat your home or never reaches the temperature you set your thermostat to, it needs repairs. The culprit might be leaking air ducts or a malfunctioning thermostat.

4. Loud Noises

Every furnace makes some noise at the beginning and end of each cycle. That’s normal. However, a system that seems unusually loud during each cycle could indicate an underlying issue. Have an HVAC technician take a look ASAP.

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Furnace Repair & Installation Services

Your neighborhood HVAC technicians at Snell Heating & Air are here to help with all your furnace issues. Our team offers dependable furnace repair and furnace installation services to homes in areas of Virginia such as Reston, Arlington, Centreville, and Alexandria. When you have problems with your furnace, it’s important to get them addressed promptly to keep your family safe. In addition, our team of contractors offer other types of HVAC services such as gas boiler repair, whole-house humidifier installation, heating system maintenance, and air conditioning repair. Our unique 24/7 service means you get the same affordable rate every hour of the day and every day of the week. Call us today at (703) 543-9649 to schedule a repair or installation.

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