Is Your Furnace Running Every 5 Minutes? (We Have A Fix!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

If you are in the situation of hearing your furnace run for a few minutes then turn off repeatedly, then you might be wondering what, if anything, is wrong with your furnace and what steps can be taken to resolve the problem.

If you are experiencing this issue, know that you aren’t alone. Many homeowners experience this exact issue and have been able to overcome it.

Check your filter if your furnace runs every 5 minutes and clean it to remove the clog that causes overheating. Inspect the wiring in your thermostat if it triggers your furnace to go off every 5 minutes. Make sure that your furnace blower isn’t damaged, and you can clean or replace it if it is the cause.

This knowledge guide is going to give you the information that you need to deal with this common problem. These steps will help to make sure that you find the fastest, most effective, and most affordable solution.

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Assessing the Situation: Record What You See and Hear

The first step in solving this problem is to know exactly what you are dealing with. How often is the furnace running? What do you hear before and afterward?

It may be helpful for you to write or otherwise record the problems that you are seeing and hearing. This helps you better explain them to a professional, if necessary.

What is Short Cycling?

If you are hearing your furnace kick on and off about every five minutes, then there’s a good chance that you are hearing your furnace short cycle. Short cycling is when the furnace turns on and off every few minutes due to a malfunction within. More often than not, you’ll hear a clicking noise.

Usually, this is the result of a malfunction within the furnace having to do with one or more of the components. If these components were not working altogether, the furnace wouldn’t start at all.

If you call an HVAC professional after you have gone through our troubleshooting tips, you can describe the problem accurately. Correctly identifying short cycling could help them to assess and solve the problem faster.


Now that you know a bit more about short cycling and what happens during it, you can start to troubleshoot. Good troubleshooting will help you get to the bottom of the situation. Our troubleshooting tactics are designed to help you narrow down the problem quickly and easily. Here are some of the troubleshooting steps that you should take.

Check Your Air Filter

If your furnace is turning on and off every few minutes, then the first troubleshooting step that you should take is to check your air filter. Many people believe that the sole function of the air filter is to keep breathing air clean. While this is one of the benefits, that’s not its only purpose.

An air filter is also designed to protect the internal components of a furnace. Over the years, the air filter can become clogged with dust and debris. When this happens, it could prevent the furnace from getting proper ventilation.

Why Does The Air Filter Matter?

If your furnace isn’t getting proper air and ventilation, it’s likely that the internal components are heating up. Your furnace has a safety feature that will turn the furnace off if it becomes too hot.

This could be the reason that your furnace continues to turn on and off every few minutes. If you see that your air filter is very dirty, you should replace it with a new one. This may not solve your problem completely but should be done on a regular basis anyway.

Check Your Thermostat

Another likely culprit if your furnace is turning on and off every few minutes is the thermostat. The thermostat is a simple device that controls when your furnace operates. Though it is simple, it can cause an awful lot of problems if there is something wrong with it.

If your thermostat is not properly controlling your furnace, it could cause the furnace to turn on and off. Luckily, there is a relatively easy way to test whether it is your thermostat causing it.

Easy Thermostat Test

To test whether your thermostat is causing the issue, remove the cover. This should expose the wires. Touching the white and red wires together will activate the furnace. When you use this method, it bypasses the thermostat.

If your furnace stays on for an extended period of time, this means that it was your thermostat causing the issue. Be sure to be careful when handling the wires during this process.

Check Your Furnace Blower

A potential problem that could be causing the furnace to turn on and off frequently is the furnace blower. The furnace blower is the fan that circulates the warm air around your home. If it is not functioning properly, it can cause issues. Without a furnace blower, the warm air never leaves the furnace and instead causes the furnace to overheat. In this situation, the furnace would reach the high-limit for temperature and automatically turn off.

Testing The Blower

If you want to test this, simply put your hand over the vents around your home while the furnace is on. If there is no or little air, the furnace blower could certainly be the issue.

Check Your Flue

Similar to the way that the furnace blower can affect your furnace, so can the flue. The flue is the vent on your roof which is responsible for venting hot air from the furnace. The flue is hard to check for beginners, but if you are comfortable you can get on the roof and check out the flue.

Check to make sure that steam and air is coming out of the flue while the furnace is operating. If it isn’t, look down the flue to see what could be clogging it. It could be as simple as twigs and leaves that are clogging the flue. If this is the case, simply clear out the flue.

Consider Furnace Size

The final potential problem that could be causing the furnace to turn on and off is also the most expensive and difficult to remedy. Some people have chosen a furnace that is too large for their needs.

If this is happening, the furnace could be heating the home much faster than expected and then shutting off. This could be the reason that you hear your furnace turning on and off every 5 minutes. The solution to this is to change it out for one that is the appropriate size, which could be a costly project.

Do You Need Furnace or Heating System Repair?

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Related Questions

Should I downsize my furnace?

This entirely depends on your experience with your current furnace. If your furnace is turning on and off every 5 minutes due to size, it’s possible that you will need to downsize your furnace. If you have had a good experience with your furnace until now, then the chances are that there is no need to downsize your furnace.

How much does a furnace replacement cost?

The typical furnace replacement costs anywhere from $3,000-$7000, but almost always depends on which type of furnace you need. It will also depend on which features you want in your furnace. There are modern furnaces with unique features that cost more, while basic traditional models often cost less.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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