When the cold weather hits, often so do HVAC problems. This is especially true if you're firing up your furnace for the first time this season. When your HVAC goes down, there are a number of problems that could be to blame. Let's explore the most common cold weather HVAC problems.
- Malfunctioning Heat Pump - There are a few different issues that can cause the heat pump to malfunction. First, the coils could fail to defrost. In order for the coils to work properly, they must be free of frost and ice build-up. Heat pump systems have an automatic setting for defrosting the coils so this problem could be a failure in that automatic system. Other issues that can cause the heat pump to malfunction include a broken fan motor or a blocked coil.
- Dirty Air Filter - While a dirty air filter is an easy to fix issue that should be taken care of year round, it becomes particularly noticeable during cold weather. The particles and debris in the air filter restrict airflow and cause the HVAC system to work harder. This also results in reduced airflow throughout the home causing cold spots and uneven heating in the home.
- Frozen Pipes or Coils - As temperatures drop, pipes and coils can freeze over and stop functioning properly. This is true not just for the HVAC system but also hot water heaters and steam radiators. Even worse, frozen pipes and coils can build up pressure that causes them to burst.
- Broken Thermostat - While this issue might not be directly related to cold weather, it seems that broken or malfunctioning thermostats happen most when it's cold out. Many times, thermostat issues are due to faulty or damaged wiring. Simply having the wiring fixed can restore proper power and function in these cases. Other times, it is the thermostat itself that has a defect or problem. In this case, a new thermostat should be installed and calibrated to the HVAC system to solve the problem.
- Pilot Light Problems - The pilot light is the small blue flame that usually stays lit at all times (except for ignition furnaces). If the pilot light doesn't burn strongly enough or won't stay lit, the problem is often a dirty or damaged flame sensor. The flame sensor helps detect the presence and strength of the pilot light flame to ensure proper operation of the furnace. When the sensor is dirty or damaged, it cannot sense the flame properly and thus the furnace doesn't cycle on.
- Carbon Monoxide Leak - Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can poison people and animals, resulting in serious illness or death. CO is particularly dangerous because it is so difficult to detect. When a system has a CO leak, the most common culprit is a cracked heat exchanger inside the heater. Blocked or inadequate ventilation can also cause CO to build up in a home as well.
Cold weather is hard on your HVAC system, even though it is designed to help keep you warm. There are a number of common problems that can crop up with your HVAC when the colder weather hits. This list isn't exhaustive but includes the most common cold weather HVAC problems you could be facing if your heater isn't working as it should. Give Carolina Comfort Systems a call if your heater just isn't keeping up or isn't working and we'll get you fixed up and warmed up fast.