One of the most common complaints among homeowners who possess a furnace is that their unit runs continuously. Unless you also have a heat pump (which can cause your unit to run frequently to maintain a set temperature during extremely cold weather), your furnace should cycle on and off at regular intervals. That being said, if your furnace isn’t cycling as usual, this could be due to any number of reasons. Read on to learn about some of the most common of them.

One of the most common causes of a continuously running furnace is an excessively drafty house. Older homes in particular are prone to drafts, which refers to the leakage of cold outside air into the interior of the home. If your house is naturally drafty, a bit of winterizing may be all you need to set your furnace straight. Replacing old insulation, caulking around windows and any holes leading to the outdoors, installing storm windows and doors, and landscaping to better protect your home from wintry winds can go a long way toward easing your furnace’s burden.

If winterizing doesn’t yield results, it’s time to take a good, hard look at the furnace itself. A clogged furnace filter, for example, is another common cause of an overactive furnace, causing the unit to work harder than usual to take in air. Allergen-reducing filters—which are thicker than normal filters—can likewise reduce airflow into your unit, and moreover need to be changed more frequently than regular filters. HVAC service professionals, such as Kansas City’s Cates Heating and Cooling, recommend replacing your furnace filter every 1-2 months. Ignoring a clogged filter too long can also lead to bigger issues—namely, a burnt-out fan.

If your filter is in good shape, your humidifier—if your furnace has one—is another likely suspect. The settings on a humidifier typically need to be adjusted when the weather turns cold, but this is an easy task to forget. Turning your humidifier to a setting appropriate for winter, however, helps to hold heat in your home so that you don’t have to set the thermostat on your furnace quite so high to stay warm.

Relatedly, a programmable thermostat can help to dramatically reduce the amount of time your furnace is running. By enabling you to pre-set your thermostat for different times of day—for instance, to lower the temperature at night while you are sleeping, or while you are at work—a programmable thermostat allows your furnace to take a break, and in turn can substantially reduce your energy costs.

Given that any combination of causes can contribute to less-than-optimal furnace performance, the best thing you can do to address—or, even better, prevent—continuous running and other issues is to call in a professional to perform a heating system tune-up. Routine maintenance can help to ensure that your furnace is performing at optimal efficiency, as well as reducing the potential for costly repairs down the road. And for furnace service in Kansas City, there is no one more reliable than the professionals at Cates Heating and Cooling—and there is no better time for routine maintenance than now, before the cold weather sets in.

Cates Heating and Cooling serves businesses and residences around the Greater Kansas City area, providing heating and cooling services including maintenance, replacement, and repair. You can contact Cates today for KC furnace service and repair or to request a free estimate on new furnace installation.