Common winter heating system problems
Your heating system is a workhorse, laboring around the clock during winter to keep you warm in your Greater Manchester home. But sometimes it labors a little too hard, which can either lead to or be a symptom of a problem that needs attention.
Here are five problems your heating systems may encounter in the winter months ahead:
- Cycling – A heating system that turns on and off too often (we call this “cycling”) is often doing so as a result of either a clogged filter or a faulty thermostat. It’s a good idea to check both before calling for professional heating service in VT. If the problem continues, your system will need some professional help.
- Exhaust leaks – Carbon monoxide leaks are most common in heating systems that are 10 to 15 years old; if your equipment is nearing or has past that age, it should be inspected every year. Vermont law requires you to install carbon monoxide detectors at every level of your house; it’s also critical to test at least twice a year, changing batteries and swapping in new units as needed. If your CO detector sounds, leave the house and contact the fire department immediately.
- Over-dry air – Without proper humidity, air can be uncomfortable – especially for people with respiratory issues. Over-dry air can also damage furniture, artwork, and even expensive electronics. Consider adding a whole-house humidifier to your HVAC system – humid air feels warmer, which means you can drop the thermostat a few degrees with no loss of comfort. You’ll also breathe easier, and you won’t have to replace those antiques.
- Inconsistent heating – Cold and hot spots can result from a problem with your heating system or air leaks in the house itself (it’s often both). Simple weatherization measures like caulking, weather stripping and door sweeps will help tame drafts, as will adding insulation to walls and floors that abut unconditioned spaces.
If these weatherization measures don’t solve the problem, you could have an issue with a dirty filter, dirty vents, or dirty/damaged coils. As a first step, check the air filter and get your heating system cleaned (a cleaning should be included in your annual tune-up). If the problem continues to exist, contact us for service.
- No heat – If your furnace or boiler won’t start at all, please take these six steps before you call for service:
- Check to see if you have enough propane or heating oil.
- Make sure all power switches are in the “on” or “start” position, and that your circuit breaker has not been tripped
- Make sure the temperature on your thermostat is set at least five degrees above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO.
- Check the pilot light, if your equipment has one.
- If you have a forced (or warm) air system (a furnace with ductwork), check the air filter if airflow from your vent seems low; also make sure that vents are not blocked.
- If you have an oil-fired system, reset the red burner switch once; doing it more than once may flood your system with oil.
Did you know that an old furnace or boiler could lose 20 percent efficiency or more over its lifetime? If your heating equipment is 12-15 years old or more, consider an upgrade – especially if a costly repair is on the horizon. Contact Dorr Oil and Propane today to get a FREE, no-obligation estimate on a new heating oil- or propane gas-fired furnace or boiler and start enjoying more comfort and lower heating bills in your Greater Manchester, VT home.