Most Common Residential Heating Issues

Residential Heating Issues

As temperatures begin to change, Winter presents itself with its own set of challenges. Preparations such as landscape maintenance, furnace and heater maintenance, and gutter cleaning are essential in making sure that your home stays protected and in shape through the cold and snow. 

In terms of survival, residential heating issues prove to be the most important, leaving you in a sudden state of discomfort and inconvenience. But, recognizing potential problems with your heating system and knowing when to call the pros is a good base of knowledge to have. 

We’ll help you address some of the most common residential heating issues and what you need to do about them.

Dirty Air Filters

One of the most critical maintenance steps to protect your heating system is changing your air filters regularly. Not doing so can force the appliance to work harder than it needs to circulate warm air. Plus, if the filter is too dirty, it can blow the limit switch, causing the system to shut off for safety concerns.

Changing your dirty or clogged filters once a month would be best to get the most life out of your heating system and avoid higher energy or repair bills. If you live in a home with multiple pets or other allergens and pathogens, replacing the air filter more often is a prudent step to ensure you’re getting the cleanest air.

Lack Of Airflow

Your air filters are just one concern regarding circulating air through the system. As the system ages, the motors, belts, ducts, and bearings are all susceptible to wear and tear. If you do not maintain the filters throughout their lifespan, the system can overheat, causing a shutdown. 

Both clogged air filters and worn circulation parts in the system can trip the limit switch, a safety feature that turns the system off when it overheats. If this part is damaged, it can cause the entire system to be unusable until someone replaces it.

Regular checkups can ensure that your system is protected and forced to work harder than it must to maintain the proper temperature within your home.  

Faulty Thermostats

Thermostats are responsible for reading and regulating the temperature of your home. These readings transfer to the system computer, which, in turn, provides instructions to the heating system. 

If the thermostat is faulty, it can lead to a series of problems. If the system thinks the temperature is much lower, it will send inaccurate information to the onboard computer, initiating more heat than intended and leading to inappropriate warmth. If it believes the temperature is higher, it won’t kick on when needed to cool the home. 

Despite their many innovations, even smart thermostats aren’t immune to glitches, and you should also check these regularly for any unusual readings or malfunctions. In particular, ensure the battery isn’t low, the settings are correct, and the temperature is reading correctly. 

You should also ensure that the thermostat you use is compatible with your home’s HVAC system. If not, the incompatibility can also cause your system to malfunction.

Bad Ductwork

Leaky ductwork can destroy your energy efficiency. If air leaks, it’s not circulating correctly, forcing your system to work harder, which inevitably leads to many other problems.

Worse yet, this problem can be virtually invisible until a more significant problem in the system prompts a look at the ductwork. You can do some rudimentary testing for this problem by feeling along the ductwork in the attic. 

If air blows out, you’ve got a leak that needs addressing. Sealing this leak offers better energy efficiency, ensures even heating, protects indoor air quality, and reduces back-drafting.

Mold Growth

Many conditions in your heating system can cause mold to grow, but it’s usually a result of a moisture buildup caused by poor insulation. If you’re experiencing this issue, it prompts an immediate call to your trusted HVAC expert.

Mold in the system can be dispersed throughout your home, which is not ideal. If something smells off, consult your HVAC specialist to take a look at your system and clean it thoroughly.

Low Fuel

If you’ve got a furnace, it needs fuel to run correctly. When that fuel is low, the heater won’t function as it should, creating poor comfort conditions in your home. Some common side effects you may experience are an influx of cold air, foul odors, or unexpected fumes.

Heat System Malfunctions

Some malfunctions can cause your heat system not to turn on but don’t panic if this happens to you. Most often, the issue is something minor that doesn’t spell disaster for the health of your entire heating system.

For instance, the cause could be as simple as a power supply issue preventing your heating unit from getting the necessary electrical signal to turn on. If something flipped the breaker or an external switch is off, the system won’t power on.

First, check your other appliances to see whether or not they will turn on. If all your electronic devices react similarly, there’s likely a power outage in your area, and service technicians will probably restore service soon.

Sometimes a heating system may not ignite, and there may be several reasons for this. For example, a damaged or incorrectly installed ignitor won’t have the appropriate voltage to power the system and can fail to ignite.

Broken Circuit Board

Although not as common as the mechanical issues that occur within a heating system, electronics can be to blame in some cases.

For example, suppose the control board is displaying warning lights, your heating system cycles inconsistently, or you experience significant temperature fluctuations. In that case, the circuit board might need to be repaired or replaced.

The Bottom Line

Residential heating systems can break down for the simplest of reasons, but before calling your HVAC specialist, check whether the breaker has tripped or there’s an outage in your area.

If you can’t determine the reason for the heating issues or detect suspicious circumstances that may be the culprit, consult with a professional heating and air technician to ensure that the unit is operating correctly and to correct any existing issues with its functionality.  

You should also regularly conduct maintenance on your system by changing the air filter once a month. If you’re living in a place with temperamental weather such as Colorado, it might be best to start researching heating repair in Denver or some sort of heating technician. Doing so can save you a lot of headaches and expenses with your heating system down the line by catching or preventing problems before they become serious.

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