Throughout the winter, you rely on your heating system to see you through the coldest days without fail. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons for your system to fail doing its job. The following takes a look at 6 common problems faced by a typical heating system.

Poor Air Flow

There are plenty of reasons why your home may not offer the air flow needed to keep you and other occupants warm:

  • Cracks and gaps in ductwork caused by rust and corrosion, failing adhesive or poor installation techniques
  • Blower motor failure due to worn bearings, belts or motors
  • Air ducts and/or registers clogged with dust and debris

Poor air flow can also be caused by a clogged air filter. It's a good idea to have your filter changed on a monthly basis or as recommended by your furnace manufacturer.

Intermittent or Failed Pilot Light

Your heating problems could be traced back to a pilot light that's gone out. In some cases, the fix is as simple as relighting the pilot according to your furnace manufacturer's instructions. If your furnace uses an electronic ignition system, it might have to be replaced with the help of your technician.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

Thermostat failures are another common reason for heating system malfunctions. This crucial component helps control your entire home's climate. If you have a zoned heating system, it may simply control a portion of your home. Here's what to look for when dealing with a malfunctioning thermostat:

  • Make sure all of the settings on thermostat are correctly set. You'd be surprised how many malfunctions are often caused by an accidental brush against the controls.
  • Make sure the thermostat battery is in good condition and carries a full charge. At some point, you may have to change the battery in order to restore the thermostat's proper operation.

Premature Wear and Tear

The various components within your heating system have a finite lifespan. Unfortunately, any of these components can wear out before their time, either through increased usage or a problem within the heating system that's causing accelerated wear.

If you're faced with prematurely worn components, you should have your technician take a look. There may be another problem that's causing the premature wear and simply replacing the component without addressing the root cause will simply cause the problem to come back later.

Condenser Icing

Here's a problem that's unique to heat pumps. Under chilly weather conditions, the frost that normally forms on the outside condenser coil's surface can turn into ice. This blocks air flow through the coil, preventing the unit from transferring heat into your home.

To solve this problem, allow your heat pump to run in defrost mode or simply shut off power to the unit and deice the condenser coil with a steady stream of running water from a garden hose.

Lax Maintenance

Regular maintenance is absolutely critical for any type of heating system. Skimping on maintenance or heating repair can easily lead to any of the above problems, among others. You should always have your furnace, boiler or heat pump regularly inspected and maintained by a trained technician at least twice a year, once before the fall season starts and once more afterwards.