Now that we’re in the second half of winter, it’s wise to watch for problems your household heating system may experience. Our winters are not too extreme, but heating systems still need to kick in now and then—and that means they’ll accumulate wear and tear, especially if they weren’t maintained in fall. (This is another friendly reminder to always have maintenance for your heater each year—it’s the best way to ensure your comfort isn’t interrupted.)
To help your heater make it through the end of winter until the warm weather is back for the long stretch, please watch for warning signs it’s starting to malfunction. If you notice any of these behaviors from your heating system and you can’t find a simple cause, call a San Marcos, TX, HVAC contractor for repairs.
If you’ve had your heater for a year or more, you know what it’s supposed to sound like when it runs. When this sound changes or the heater becomes much louder when running, there is probably a mechanical issue. For example, screeching and grinding noises are warnings of motors that are wearing down and in danger of burning out. Any type of rattling indicates that something might be loose or a fan blade is bent. Clicking sounds might be capacitors that are dying. You need a technician to uncover what’s causing the noise and what to do about it.
Cold spots in the house
When a heater begins to lose its heating capacity, it will first show up as cold spots in the rooms. If you discover rooms that are colder than the other parts of the house, it may be the heater starting to fail. (Usually, these are the rooms the farthest along on the ventilation system from the HVAC cabinet.) There are other possibilities for cold spots, such as leaking air ducts and a broken zone control system.
This describes when a heater is running on shorter cycles than normal. A standard heating cycle for a furnace or heat pump is 15 minutes or more, with a similar downtime before restarting. When you notice the heater is shutting down after only 10 minutes, and then turning back on a short time later, then it’s short-cycling. There are many reasons for this to happen (always check to see that the air filter is clean). Whatever is the cause, short-cycling is harmful to the heating system and it needs to be stopped.
A sharp climb in heating costs
Did your last utility bill contain an unpleasant surprise? When the amount you pay to heat the house suddenly leaps and you can’t explain why, it’s a reason to have a professional look at the heating system. Almost any type of malfunction can cause the heater to lose energy efficiency.
Tripping circuit breakers
The blower fan in a heat pump or furnace (and this applies to gas furnaces as well) can cause a circuit breaker to trip if the motor is overloaded. A single tripped circuit breaker is probably not a serious situation. If the breaker keeps tripping, call for repairs.
Call Thayer Air Conditioning—we’re already on our way! Your comfort is our #1 priority!