Common Problems Your Heating System Can Experience

With the onset of the cold winter months, it's essential that you keep your heating system in good working condition throughout the season. No matter how well your home is insulated, a quality heating system can be the difference between being comfortable in your own home and wearing three layers inside to stay warm. While it's vital that the system you've selected for your home has a good build quality and is efficient, even the best of systems can malfunction from time to time.

Common Signs of a Malfunctioning Heater

By understanding the common problems that your heating system can experience, you'll be able to take the necessary steps toward repairing these issues or preventing them altogether.

Heater Doesn't Turn Off Properly

While not being able to turn the heater off is likely the best problem to have with a heating system in the middle of the winter, it's still a problem that could cause your energy bills to skyrocket. The simplest explanation for this issue is that your thermostat is currently set to "on" as opposed to "auto." When the thermostat is set to "auto," the fan within your heating system will only turn on when the unit is heating your air.

On the other hand, the "on" setting means that the fan will always be blowing, which only serves to waste energy and cause you to pay more on your monthly energy bills. Another reason why your heater may not turn off properly is because the thermostat has wiring issues or the furnace blower is not working as it should. If you're unable to identify what's causing this issue, our professional HVAC technicians can take a comprehensive inspection of the system and perform any necessary repairs.

Heater Blows Cold Air Into the Home

One of the more easily noticeable problems on this list is when your heater is blowing cold air into the home, which can make any cold winter day feel even more unbearable. Before you request our repair services, make sure that the thermostat isn't placed at the "fan only" setting. If you've verified that your settings are correct and the issue continues to persist, there are a variety of complications that can cause this common problem. If only cold air is being blown into your home, it's possible that your air filter has become dirty. All air filters will become dirty over time, which is why they need to be replaced on a regular basis. Change the filter to identify whether or not a dirty filter is what's causing the problem.

Another cause of cold air being blown into the home is leaking air ducts, which will need to be sealed in order to correct the issue. Since ducts are typically situated in a crawl space or attic, it's recommended that you have a professional technician handle the repairs. The pilot light in your heating system could also be damaged, which means that the heat is unable to turn on properly. Since this issue can be a problematic one that will keep you cold until it's repaired, consider contacting Fox & Sons immediately so that we can provide you with a quick fix.

The Fan Around the Furnace Breaks

Since the fan in your heating system is likely always turned on during the winter, it's understandable that the fan would be one of the first components to break. Unless your thermostat is programmed incorrectly, it's likely that the fan will need to be repaired professionally. However, there are a few additional things that you can check to determine whether or not the fan is broken.

  • When an air filter becomes too dirty and filled with debris, it's possible that this could cause the fan to stop working correctly. Either clean the filter or replace it to determine if this is the cause.
  • You should also check your circuit breakers to make sure that they're turned on correctly. If you've followed each of these steps and still find that the fan isn't turning on, you will likely require repair services to correct the problem.

Distinct Smells Fill the Air

Among the most problematic issues caused by a malfunctioning heating system is a burning smell. If you notice that this specific odor is coming from your vents, you should turn off your heating system immediately. While this problem can be severe, it's also possible that there's a blockage in the heater that's causing the issue, which is easily fixed. Replace your air filters if they have become dirty and then switch the heating system back on. If the smell persists, contact us as soon as possible.

Certain Sections of the Home Aren't Being Heated Properly

A common problem with heating systems that can also be somewhat difficult to notice is when certain sections of the home aren't appropriately heated. If you feel like it's colder in one room when compared to another, it's possible that there are some issues with how your heating system is circulating air throughout your home. Similarly to how cold air can get into the home even when the heat is turned on, uneven distribution of heat can be caused by leaks in specific areas of the ductwork. As with most other heating system problems, you should also check your air filter to make sure that it isn't too dirty.

Controls for Thermostat Aren't Functioning Correctly

The thermostat for your heating system can readily malfunction if it isn't regularly maintained. If you have a digital thermostat, try to replace the batteries with new ones. If the thermostat still doesn't work properly, it's likely that it requires more extensive repairs or an entire replacement. You could also try to reset the thermostat to factory settings, which is a surprisingly effective solution for some of the issues that can occur with thermostats.

A tripped circuit breaker could also be the cause of a malfunctioning thermostat. Similarly, you should check the wiring that connects to the thermostat. If there are any fraying issues, electricity may not be reaching the device. While nearly all of these issues will need to be fixed by a professional repair technician, it's better to know what's causing the issue so that you’ll know what to look for, just in case the problem happens to return in the future.

Mold Has Developed in the Heating System

The final problem that is common with heating systems, and may be affecting yours, is the development of mold within the unit or the ductwork in your home. Faulty ductwork or poor insulation can bring about issues where moisture starts to build up in areas of your heating system. The buildup of moisture often leads to mold growth unless the problem is corrected quickly. If mold has developed somewhere in your heating system, it's essential that you request repair services as soon as possible.

When mold spreads throughout a home, the spores from the mold will get into the air and can lead to a wide range of issues that will affect your family. The presence of mold in a home can cause health issues like:

  • Eye irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Nasal issues
  • Coughing

If you're looking for a professional HVAC technician to help service your home’s heating system, know that Fox & Sons is ready for your call! Our goal is to keep you and your family warm this winter with the peace of mind in knowing your heating system is healthy and reliable!