How Long Should a Furnace Run During a Typical Heating Cycle?

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a relaxing winter evening in your warm Seattle home. Settling in with your favorite beverage and a good book feels great if your furnace is doing the important job of keeping your house warm.

While your Kirkland furnace typically works just fine, have you ever wondered if it’s operating as it should? For example, do you know how long and how often your furnace should be running? Keep reading for a full guide on the ins and outs of efficient furnace operation.

Average Run Times

The length of your furnace’s heating cycles can vary based on many factors. One of the most important factors is the outside temperature. Though your home’s insulation should minimize heat loss, the colder the air is outside, the sooner the temperature will drop inside and the longer your furnace will have to run to overcome the cold air.

Another factor is the temperature at which you set your thermostat. The closer you get to the furnace’s operating limits when it comes to temperature, the longer your furnace will have to run to maintain that temperature in your home.

These external factors can influence the duration of your furnace’s heat cycles even if your furnace is operating at peak efficiency. With all that being said, if there are no extreme factors involved, the average run time for a furnace is 10-15 minutes per cycle. Your furnace may need to run two to three times an hour to maintain your desired temperature if your home has average insulation.

If your furnace runs longer or shorter than average, it doesn’t necessarily mean your furnace has a problem. However, if you do notice consistently long or short heating cycles during mild conditions, you may want to investigate further.

Possible Problems

If no clear external cause can be found for long or short heating cycles, it may indicate your furnace has an internal issue that will need to be addressed by Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning. These problems range in severity from simple fixes to total furnace replacement.

Excess Heating Capacity: Your furnace is designed to put out a certain amount of heating capacity during a heating cycle. If this capacity goes unused for some reason, it can cause your furnace to overheat, which will result in your furnace turning off prematurely to protect its components.

Dirty Furnace Filter: If the furnace filter is clogged with excess dust, the system won’t be able to draw in enough air. This can cause the heat exchanger to overheat since it is dependent on the incoming air to regulate its temperature.

Poor Duct Design: If your ducts don’t allow for the proper flow of air through to the vents, then it could take longer for the heated air to bring your home to the desired temperature. This can also lead to overheating in the furnace, causing it to turn off early.

Bad Thermostat: If your thermostat has a problem, it can cause your furnace to run cycles that are either too long or too short. If the thermostat is sensing the incorrect temperature and not sending a cut-off signal soon enough, or if the battery is dying, your thermostat can cause your furnace to run erratically.

Wrong Size: If long or short cycles are a relatively new phenomenon for your furnace, it may be because someone installed the wrong-size furnace in your home. A furnace that’s either too large or too small will cool your home faster or slower than normal, which puts extra wear and tear on your furnace and other HVAC components.

Malfunctioning Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger in gas furnaces is the component responsible for taking the heat from the gas-fueled flames and transferring it to the incoming air. If the heat exchanger is warped, cracked or otherwise malfunctioning, it can lengthen the time it takes for your furnace to heat your home.

Why Is It a Problem?

Most importantly, a constant change in cycle length causes your furnace to operate far less efficiently. Excess start-ups use extra energy, as do unnecessarily extended heating cycles. This increased energy use will lead to higher energy bills and a bigger negative impact on the environment.

Additionally, if your furnace is operating outside of the parameters in which it was designed, it puts extra wear on the system, which can cause it to fail prematurely. We at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning don’t want you to have to replace your furnace until it’s necessary, which is why we want to ensure that your furnace is operating as it should.

What Can I Do?

In understanding the serious risks posed by improper heating cycles, the best response is to take action. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to improve the performance of your furnace to help lower your energy bills and keep your furnace going strong.

First, you can ensure that none of your vents are blocked. While closed vents are okay, blocked vents can create issues with excess heating capacity and should be avoided if at all possible. It’s also a good idea to have your ducts cleaned every few years to ensure air can flow through them efficiently.

You’ll want to keep your furnace filter clean and fresh at all times, as well. Put reminders on your phone, calendar or any other location where you’re sure to see them. Don’t let something as simple as a clogged filter dampen the performance of your expensive furnace.

Also, make sure that you keep fresh batteries in your thermostat. Though a dying battery isn’t always the problem with a thermostat, it’s a good idea to avoid as many issues as possible by taking proactive steps.

Lastly, if you are getting ready to install a new furnace, make sure to consult with one of our technicians at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning. Rather than opting for a cut-rate option, you can trust the experts at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning to accurately calculate the size of the furnace that you’ll need for your home. This will ensure you have the proper heating capacity, which will prevent excessively long or short cycles.

Call on the Experts

Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning offers everything from basic furnace maintenance to complicated repairs, all with a commitment to excellence.

We are also equipped to handle all your air conditioner needs, whether maintenance, repair or installation. Also, we offer excellent electrical services as well as water heater repair and installation. All in all, we want to provide great service for all of your HVAC needs.

Every day we look forward to serving our community through our technical expertise and fair prices.

With loads of customers offering 5-star reviews for the work we’ve done, we think you’ll also be delighted by your results with Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning. With each of our technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence Board, there’s no reason not to give us a call the next time your furnace is giving you trouble. Don’t hesitate, call Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland for more information about your furnace needs today!