Whenever a cold snap hits – lower than 25 degrees here in Atlanta Metro – your furnace or heat pump may seem to run constantly, leading you to believe that perhaps your unit is too small and unable to keep up. There is a simple explanation for this. Every unit is installed with a “set point”. This is a temperature determined by the United States Air Force Weather Data Service that reflects the typical coldest winter day for the area.
Our set point here in the Atlanta area is 21 degrees F. That means that whenever the temp dips below 21 degrees, your heating system should theoretically run nonstop in order to overcome the cold. In fact, once an outside temp reaches below 21, your indoor temp could be several degrees below the thermostat setting. This is perfectly normal.
Why do our heating systems need a set point? A set point is used to correctly size a system before installation. By knowing where the furnace or heat pump will be installed, the installing company can determine how big the unit needs to be to keep up with the area’s weather. A correctly sized furnace or heat pump makes the home comfortable by eliminating hot and cold spots because it doesn’t needlessly cycle on and off, giving short hot bursts of air following by cold drafts. Eliminating short cycling also prolongs a system’s life and reduces your utility usage. A correctly sized unit is integral to both comfort and efficiency.
So just remember, cold snaps mean your furnace or heat pump will run constantly until the temp warms up a little and then the normal patterns will continue. However, if you still feel you’re having a problem with your unit, give us a call. We’d be happy to help!