Taking care of your furnace is especially important over the winter season, when your unit is working its hardest to heat your home properly throughout the coldest months of the year. Knowing what winter furnace issues to look out for (and what you can do to fix them) is key to keeping your family comfortable throughout the year, and for giving your unit the maintenance it needs to avoid breakdowns or expensive repairs and replacements.
In this article, Bri-Ton Heating & Cooling will give 5 tips to help keep your furnace up and heating.
1. Dirty and Clogged Filters
If some rooms in your home are colder than others, or if air is failing to circulate properly, it could be due to a number of problems. The most common issue that affects air circulation and cold spots in your home is dirty, clogged filters, which block airways and can prevent your home from reaching its maximum heating potential. If this is the problem, replacing your filter or cleaning it out should mean better heating power and more efficient energy use in your home.
2. Freezing Pipes and Coils
Frozen pipes can mean a broken-down HVAC system, which is never good news for a homeowner—especially during the winter season. Frozen pipes happen when the temperature drops and ice forms over hydronic systems, which can keep steam and hot water from passing through.
Keeping ice off the various pipes and coils throughout the HVAC system is important for a number of reasons beyond the comfort of the indoor temperatures inside your house. It’s also extremely important to avoid pressure buildup from frozen piping, which can happen if too much air is being blocked from clear passage through to your interior.
3. Problems with the Pilot Light
Your furnace’s pilot light is designed to serve as the key to the entire HVAC system. If the pilot is not staying lit at all times with a strong, steady flame, this could be due to a dirty, damaged, or otherwise malfunctioning sensor.
If you’ve noticed that your pilot light is out when it should be on, or if the flame is weak, try turning off the furnace and cleaning the sensor. If your pilot light continues to have problems, you may need to replace it.
4. Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Odorless, tasteless, and lethal, carbon monoxide gas leaks are an imminent danger for homes with heating systems in place. To prevent a potential deadly situation in your home, make sure that your house is equipped with carbon monoxide sensors. You should also take care to provide your home’s HVAC system and furnace with professional maintenance from a reputable service company.
5. Check Your Thermostat
Another common winter furnace issue has to do with the hub of your home’s HVAC system: the furnace. Your thermostat is essential for controlling the furnace to heat the home to a precise temperature, and is an essential part of your home’s heating system. If your thermostat is not working properly, it could be forcing your furnace to work overtime, which could cause a spike in energy usage (and your utility bill costs). To diagnose a malfunctioning thermostat issue, take note of whether your home feels too hot, too cold, or if it alternates between the two. Set your thermostat according to your preference and note how your system is responding to that setting—whether by turning off and on excessively, or not at all.