In almost 80 years of operation, Warner Service technicians have seen their fair share of heating problems. To ease homeowners’ nerves about costly repairs and replacements, we’re counting down the 10 most common heating malfunctions (with a few solutions):
- Lack of maintenance. Whether it’s the gas heater or the furnace, these HVAC appliances are often an afterthought when homeowners go through their list of regular chores. A lack of maintenance can cause poor comfort levels, premature repairs and/or replacements, and higher energy bills. If you want most of your heating problems to disappear, schedule a visit from a local heating professional.
- Problems with the pilot light or ignition control. Modern heating systems usually have one of two types of ignition systems: a hot surface ignition or an intermittent pilot. Among several mechanical failures, the furnace ignition control could be malfunctioning causing intermittent or no heat in your home. For a solution, check out When To Call The Experts About Your Heating Problem.
Tip: If you have a newer furnace, it may not have a pilot light. Rather, it might use electronic ignition. These newer systems have a flame system to make sure that gas isn’t flowing without the heater being on.
- Dirty or clogged filters. A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow, making the appliance work harder to circulate air that’s damaging to the indoor air quality. Dirty filters can also blow the limit switch, which controls the fan. It’s easy to fix this problem, and subsequently extend the appliance's life and efficiency, by changing the air filter monthly.
Tip: If you live in a home with excess hair, pet dander, smoke, aerosols, and other allergens and pathogens, replace the air filter more often to get the cleanest, most breathable indoor air.
- Lack of circulation and airflow. Your home’s airflow can be compromised by failing and aging of the system’s fan motors, belts, bearings, and ducts. If these components are not maintained or repaired regularly, the heating system can overheat.
- Overrun heat pump. If your home’s heat pump is constantly running, this could be due to your surroundings. Heat pumps are designed best for climates that are consistently less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home’s climate isn’t like this, the overtime could be because of undersized equipment and/or ductwork, low refrigerant, and/or bad reversing or compressor valves. Call a professional.
- A faulty thermostat. Whether you have a smart or traditional thermostat, it can still glitch once in awhile. This can include low or no battery, misused settings, misread temperatures, and an incapability to match with your home’s HVAC. All of these malfunctions can cause poor comfort levels and other heating problems.
Tip: Consider what a programmable thermostat can do for your home with our post, 4 Benefits Of A Programmable Thermostat.
- Leaky ductwork. This is a virtually invisible problem, but it can cost homeowners a lot if it’s not resolved. Check for leaks by walking alongside the ductwork in the attic, feeling for blowing air. If you find a leak, seal it for higher energy efficiency, even heating, better indoor air quality, and “backdraft” protection.
Tip: Put a lit stick of incense near the ducts. If the smoke moves, there’s a leak.
- A moldy furnace. Moisture buildup is the result of poor insulation or inadequate ductwork, creating the ideal environment for mold growth. If you smell something off, hire a professional to take a look and clean your HVAC system if necessary.
- No fuel. Whether you have a gas, electric, or oil furnace, the system needs fuel to properly run. If it’s low on fuel or if fuel is unable to effectively power the appliance, the heater will not perform optimally. This can cause cold air, odors, fumes, and more heating problems.
- High energy bills. If you have a heat pump, this is common. While the energy bill is naturally higher in cold months, a sudden spike could be the result of minor problems, like a tripped breaker in the outdoor unit or dirty air filter. It could also be due to moderate issues, like an iced-over outdoor unit or refrigerant leak, or severe complications, such as a damaged compressor.
Tip: To decrease your energy bill without sacrificing comfort, check out 5 Quick Tips to Reduce Your Energy Bill.
And there you have it. In no particular order, Warner Service has given you the most common home heating glitches during the winter. If you’d like to stop these problems in their tracks, download our HVAC Maintenance Checklist by clicking below: