In the Grand Strand, our HVAC systems really take a beating. Hot humid summers and winters with sudden plummets in temperature give heating and cooling systems a workout. There are things you can do to help your system run its best and keep you comfortable, particularly when the temperatures drop. Here are six common wintertime HVAC problems and ways you can help prevent them.
1. Decreased air flow or air doesn't feel as warm: One of the most common reasons for this wintertime HVAC problem is a dirty air filter. Filters remove dirt, dust, pollen, microbes and other gunk from the air traveling through your HVAC system. As these nasties are caught by the filter, they begin to build up and eventually restrict air flow and make your HVAC system work harder to heat or cool your home. Changing out the filter takes only a couple of minutes and not only keeps the warm air flowing for you, it also preserves the life of your system. A good practice for our area is to change the air filter at least every other month, or more frequently if your filters gunk up quickly.
2. Heat pump won't turn on: Snowy and icy weather, as well as low temperatures with added wind chill can cause problems for the outdoor component of your heat pump system. The coils and fans inside your outdoor unit can freeze up and fail to work. The automatic defrost feature could be not working or all the wind and icy precipitation could have created a blockage for a fan or coil. The best prevention is to have your system professionally serviced before the cold weather hits. Your HVAC technician will inspect all components for potential problems and test for proper operation of the automatic defrost function among others.
3. Thermostat seems inaccurate or isn't working properly: Thermostat issues are incredibly common! Just a few thermostat issues that could be at work here are faulty wiring, calibration needed and battery low or dead in battery-powered thermostats. Low or dead battery is easy to fix with a fresh new battery. If the problem could be faulty wiring or a calibration needed, you'll want to call one of our pros out to help. Both of these issues require a professional to fix. How to prevent it? Your regular HVAC maintenance appointment! Technicians recalibrate and test the thermostat as part of standard maintenance.
4. Pilot light keeps going out or won't light: There are a number of issues that could be at work and you'll definitely want to call for help with pilot light issues because gas lines can be dangerous to work with for those without expertise. A frequent cause of pilot light problems is a dirty or damaged flame sensor. Your HVAC pro can clean or replace this part for you and get your pilot light burning safe and steady again. Like many issues with HVAC systems, the best prevention is sticking to a regular HVAC service schedule with the professionals at CCS.
5. Carbon monoxide detector goes off: Firstly, please get all of your family members and pets out of the home immediately. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and deadly! Common reasons for carbon monoxide in the home from the HVAC system are ventilation blockages, cracked heat exchanger or cracked or rusted parts in the heater or gas lines. Call an HVAC professional immediately and don't return to the home until you've been given the all-clear.
6. Uneven heating within rooms or between different rooms: Uneven heating problems are often caused by drafts around doors or windows. Uneven heating can also be caused by blockages or leaks in ductwork. The prevention solution? Regular system maintenance and inspection by a professional HVAC service provider.
The best way to prevent these six common winter HVAC problems and many others is to keep a consistent and regular service schedule for full maintenance and inspection of your HVAC system to catch little problems before they become major breakdowns and to keep your system running smoothly.