Five common heating system problems for winter
Your heating system may have performed perfectly last year, but every year it ages, problems become more likely (especially if you skip routine annual maintenance). Here are some of the more common heating problems you’re likely to encounter in the months ahead, and what to do to solve them:
- Cycling – If you notice your heating system turning on and off (cycling) more than usual, it could indicate one of several problems, including a dirty air filter or faulty thermostat. Check both, changing them if needed; if cycling continues, contact us for service.
- Carbon monoxide leaks – Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly – and 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, have it inspected. Install carbon monoxide detectors at every level of your house and test them periodically; if your CO detector sounds, leave the house and contact us immediately!
- Dry Air – Over-dry air can be uncomfortable, especially for people with respiratory issues; it can also damage furniture, artwork, and even expensive electronics. To fix a dry air problem, consider adding a whole-house humidifier to your HVAC system – your house will feel cozier, and you won’t have to replace those antiques.
- Cold spots and drafts – Inconsistent heating from room to room can have two sources: your heating system or 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 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 Junction Fuels 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 Central Vermont home.