Common Winter HVAC Problems

Winter HVAC Problems

An HVAC system hardly ever gets a break. Whether it’s the hot and humid summer season or the frigid winter season, your HVAC system is running constantly to make your home a more comfortable place to live in. Winter brings on special challenges for keeping your home warm and comfortable. Certain HVAC problems occur almost exclusively due to the cold weather. The following are some of the most common HVAC problems during winter and how homeowners can prevent them.

 Uneven heating:

One of the most common concerns homeowners have is uneven heating problems between areas of your home. This may be caused by a number of issues. Uneven heating can be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or clogged filters. It may not be the heating system at all. You may have air leaks around doors and windows letting cold air in. Sometimes the issue lies hidden within your system and may require an HVAC professional to find the problem for you. These issues can be identified and corrected by getting a professional HVAC inspection before the start of the season.  

Broken heat pump:

If your space relies on getting heat from an exterior heat pump, you may face certain issues during heavy snowfall season. Your heat pump pulls heat from the air outside into your home. If the airflow to your unit is blocked by snow, ice, leaves, or another type of debris, this can make it hard for the heat pump to do its job. As with all HVAC components, it is important to routinely check that filters are not dirty or clogged. If you suspect that your refrigerant levels are low due to a possible leak, then it is best to have a certified professional come out to check if the levels are too low or if your system needs to be recharged. 

Frozen Pipes:

When the temperature drops below freezing, you may notice ice building up on your outdoor coils and pipes. Frozen water can turn into a big problem because it expands within the pipe, building up pressure, and causing them to burst. In situations like these, getting your HVAC checked quickly is necessary to avoid the risk of costly repairs. An easy way to prevent this issue from occurring is by placing foam insulation that’s secured with duct tape around exposed HVAC pipes or lines.

Dirty Air Filters:

Air Filters are used by forced air furnaces and heat pumps to catch dust, debris, and other particles from entering the heating unit. It is very important to clean or replace air filters. If the filters become clogged, they can restrict the flow of air, causing the unit to work harder. It is a good practice to get them cleaned or replaced at least once a month.

Ignition issue:

One of the most common problems with forced air gas furnaces is their failure to ignite and come on. If your heating system runs on propane or natural gas, it will require a pilot light or electronic ignition system to start. If your gas furnace failed to ignite, make sure that the power switch and the gas valve on the gas line are in the ON position. A gas furnace burns a mixture of air and gas so make sure airflow is not restricted by a dirty filter. Ignition issues can also depend on your ignition source. Look under the furnace to make sure your pilot light has not gone out. Electronic furnace igniter switches get hot in order to ignite the gas mixture. Look under your furnace and see if your igniter glows when your furnace tries to startup. If you are unsure, please call an HVAC professional for assistance.

Thermostat breakage:

The entire heating system is regulated by the thermostat. The thermostat communicates with the furnace to make sure it starts when the temperature settings require it. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, the heating system will not know when to start or will cause the temperature readings to be off resulting in uncomfortable areas of your home. Get a professional to clean and calibrate the thermostat or upgrade to a programmable model.

All of these issues are very common in winter. It is a good practice to hire a professional HVAC contractor before the start of winter and get the entire system thoroughly checked. If you have any questions or concerns, Atlas is here to help.

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