Your home's furnace works throughout the winter months to keep your home comfortable, but if it is not properly sized for the space that it is heating, your furnace can experience a number of undesirable problems. Understanding how an improperly sized furnace can act can help you identify the cause of any furnace problems that you may be having early, so that you can contact a heating professional to have your furnace replaced before these problems become serious issues.
Purchasing and installing a furnace that is too large for your home may seem like it would be able to deliver greater amounts of heat at a faster rate, but an oversized furnace can actually cause all sorts of problems with your home. The most common problem associated with an oversized furnace is what is known as short-cycling, and it can result in increased furnace wear and massive spikes in your energy bills while also reducing the amount of heat that is actually delivered to your home.
Short-cycling occurs when your furnace rapidly turns on and off throughout the day, since the large size of your furnace causes the temperature to rise too rapidly, overheating the furnace itself and shutting it down. Once it cools down a few degrees, it will kick back into gear, and the cycle will repeat indefinitely.
A furnace that is too small for your home can also cause a great deal of discomfort. An undersized furnace will actually overwork itself in order to provide heat to your home, which means that your furnace will likely always or almost always be engaged unless you manually turn it off. This is the exact opposite of short-cycling, but it can result in the exact same problems. If your furnace never turns off, it runs the risk of burning itself out and causing all sorts of interior mechanical and filter problems while spiking your energy bills.
Furthermore, since the size of your furnace is inadequate for the space that it is trying to heat up in the first place, the fact that it is always on may not have an appreciable difference in your home's temperature despite the constant energy usage.
If you notice that your furnace either fails to stay on for a long period of time, or never seems to shut itself off, you likely have a unit that is not the proper size for your home and should contact a heating professional such as Mitchell Plumbing & Heating Inc about replacement units as soon as possible.