When the temperature drops, your HVAC system goes to work keeping your home warm and comfortable. But how can you tell if there is a problem brewing? Whether you have a furnace or a heat pump, there are a common set of issues that can crop up when the temperature drops. Here are the top 7 most common cold weather heating problems and possible causes.
1. Dirty filters - Dirty filters restrict airflow, add to wear and tear, make your HVAC work harder and lose energy efficiency and can cause damage to various components over time. Ideally, it's best to change your filter every other month or monthly if you have pets. This is one of the most common causes of cold weather heating problems.
2. Cracked heat exchanger - The most common cause of a cracked heat exchanger is a lack of regular maintenance of the system. A cracked heat exchanger can also result in a carbon monoxide (CO) leak that can cause serious illness or death. While this is a costly repair, it's important to have it taken care of immediately because of the CO danger.
3. Cycling too frequently - Cycling too often can be a result of a dirty or clogged air filter, most commonly. If the air filter is new, the problem is more likely to be an issue with airflow or a faulty thermostat setting.
4. Loud bangs or sounds during the heating cycle - Loud noises most often indicate airflow problems. If airflow isn't the issue, it could also be a clogged burner. In either case, a visit from a professional is required.
5. Air continuously blowing - The most common cause of an HVAC system that is constantly blowing, whether or not the heating element is producing heat, is a faulty limit switch. This is a repair you'll need an HVAC professional to perform for you.
6. Faulty pilot light - There are a few ways the pilot light can be faulty. It should be a small, bright and blue flame. If the flame is another color such as yellow or orange, or doesn't burn brightly or not at all, the most likely cause is a dirty or damaged flame sensor. Sometimes this issue can be remedied by cleaning the flame sensor while other times, it requires a new flame sensor.
7. Frozen pipes - Just like regular plumbing pipes in your home, some HVAC systems can experience frozen pipes and coils during especially cold weather. Also like your plumbing, frozen pipes and coils can burst or crack. The most common way people notice this problem is if their HVAC isn't keeping up to the set temperature. Calling in a professional ASAP can help prevent cracks or breaks in the coils or pipes inside your HVAC system.
Your HVAC system works hard in both the hot months and the cold months to keep your home comfortable. Knowing about these top 7 common cold weather heating problems helps you quickly recognize when there is an issue and call in a professional to help fix the problem before it becomes a major breakdown.