Why Does My Minneapolis Furnace Keep Turning On and Off?

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Winter is settling in here in Minnesota, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to turn on your furnace. Usually, your furnace will turn on when your home’s temperature drops lower than the temperature the thermostat is set. It will heat your home until it’s back to your set temperature again, and then shut down until it is needed again. However, when your furnace isn’t working correctly, you will notice the furnace turning on and off over and over again without a specific reason why. Luckily, there are some tips for troubleshooting your furnace and possibly fixing the issue before needing to call in the professionals.

If you are noticing that your furnace is repeatedly turning on and off throughout the day you have a problem called “short-cycling”. This term is used to describe problems that are starting in the heating system itself. If you ignore or don’t take the correct action to fix the short-cycling, it could cause permanent damage to your devices or your home. It can also lead to more expensive heating bills since it’s working harder to maintain your comfort level.


Short cycles can have multiple causes, but one thing to check before you call in Twin City Heating, Air and Electric is your air filter. A dirty air filter can make it hard for the warm air to circulate properly through your unit and cause back-ups. Back-ups of warm air trick your furnace into thinking that it has heated the home properly and shuts off, but with the air barely being warmed, the furnace will kick on again in no time to try and heat again. We recommend checking your air filter monthly and replacing it roughly every three months.

Sometimes, short cycles can be caused by your thermostat instead of your furnace. Check your thermostat’s settings carefully as they are a little different in winter. Be sure to keep your thermostat out of direct light, which can warm it unintentionally, or near other sources of heat for the same reason. If your thermostat thinks it’s hotter than it is, it will not turn your furnace on. For added convenience, we also offer wifi thermostats, which can let you monitor things right from your phone. Thermostats can be overlooked when there is a problem because it feels like it just has to be something bigger, like your actual furnace.

After checking those two issues first and ruling them out, it is time to call in Twin City Heating, Air and Electric. If the short cycling is caused by something like a corroded flame sensor, the wrong size furnace for your home or other more serious issues then you are going to need professionals to get the job done safely for you and your family. Winter is the time of year when most home fires happen, and it is better to know your house is safe. You can truly feel the difference in comfort and safety when you work with us.