How Often Should Furnace Cycle in Winter?

When winter comes to Indiana, the temperature can drop to shocking levels. If your heating system doesn’t work correctly, it can’t heat your home adequately and could break down completely. The last thing anyone wants at the start of the cold season is to get stuck without any heat in their home.

If your furnace clicks on frequently, you may wonder, “how often should my furnace cycle in the winter?” While frequent cycling doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with your furnace, keeping an eye on the furnace cycles will help you avoid severe problems with your heating system and maintain energy efficiency. If you think you need a new furnace, furnace installation by All-Star Service makes the best option for Indiana homeowners.

Hope Often Should My Furnace Cycle?

If looking for a single, straight answer to the question, “how often should my furnace cycle in the winter?” the issue becomes a bit more complicated than that. Your furnace initiates heating cycles to maintain the temperature set on your home thermostat. Based on the national average, a healthy furnace may turn on and shut off anywhere between three and eight times per hour.

However, several factors will determine how often your furnace cycles throughout the day, even if there’s nothing wrong with it, such as:

  • Your insulation
  • The temperature outside your home
  • The construction and materials in your house

The age of the furnace also affects the number of times it needs to cycle to keep your home at the desired temperature. The older the furnace, the harder it will work to heat the house. Without routine maintenance, your furnace will run into problems and need occasional repairs.

Most Common Problems With a Furnace in Winter

The most common issues homeowners experience with their furnaces in the winter include:

1. Malfunctioning Heat Exchanger

Your furnace’s heat exchanger takes the heat from the burner’s flame and transfers it to the air your HVAC system sends through the ductwork to warm your home. If you have a defective heat exchanger, it won’t transfer the heat efficiently—taking longer for the furnace to cycle and get your home to the right temperature.

2. Dirty Flame Sensor

If your furnace only cycles for a few short seconds, a dirty flame sensor could be the culprit. A clean sensor will allow the furnace to cycle normally and prevent gas from leaking into your home. Shut off the furnace and give the inside time to cool before cleaning the flame sensor.

3. Dirty Filter

If your furnace filter is dirty, it can’t get the airflow it needs to function correctly. If the heat exchanger can’t regulate the temperature, the furnace will overheat. 

4. Poor Duct Installation

If your ductwork configuration is poor, the heating system will have too much ventilation space or not enough. This issue will cause the furnace to shut off early due to overheating or misreading temperatures.

5. Faulty thermostat

When a thermostat doesn’t work correctly, it can’t send the right signal to the heat source. A defective thermostat will cause your furnace to run long or short cycles, shut off at the wrong temperature, or start and stop randomly. Be sure to keep your thermostat away from your home’s heat source and out of direct sunlight for the best performance.

6. Wrong Furnace Size

If your furnace is too small, it won’t be able to put out enough heat to reach your thermostat’s temperature setting. It will need more energy to heat your home, which increases your energy bill, and it may overheat and break down. 

Also, if your furnace is too big for your house, it will short cycle. This setup also wastes energy and shortens the furnace’s lifespan.

Signs That Your Furnace Needs Servicing or Repairs

These signs indicate your furnace is malfunctioning and needs a tune-up or repairs:

  • Unusual smells: There may be something wrong with your furnace if it emits a strange odor for hours after it begins operating.
  • Trouble starting: If your furnace won’t start easily or has trouble staying on, you may have an issue that needs professional attention.
  • Noisy: No furnace is silent, but if your furnace seems louder and noisier than usual, let an HVAC technician look at it.

Call All-Star Service Today

How often should a furnace cycle in winter? There’s no easy answer. At All-Star Service, we offer heating repair services for homeowners all over Indiana’s northwest corner.

If you think your furnace is short cycling, we’ll come to inspect and repair it for you quickly. Call us at 219-414-4919 to schedule an appointment today.

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