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5 Most Common Heating Problems

Don't be left out in the cold. Learn more about common heating problems, what causes them, and some solutions here.

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furnace filterFamily Handyman

Uncleaned Filters

If you notice that your heating system seems to be working less efficiently than usual, the first thing to check is your filter. Filters will naturally become clogged over time as they collect dirt and debris, restricting the amount of air that can flow through them. That means that your furnace has to work harder to circulate air, which in turn limits its effectiveness. By cleaning or replacing your furnace filter you can get your heating system working at optimal levels, and you’ll most likely save some money on your energy bills as well.

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furnace filtersCharles Knowles/Shutterstock

Irregular Maintenance

Just like any other machine, your heating system requires at least semi-regular maintenance to keep it working as it should. Annual furnace maintenance and inspections can go a long way towards preventing costly breakdowns and treating potential problems before they cause real issues. It’s a good idea to schedule these inspections with an HVAC professional sometime in the fall so that you can be confident in your furnace  heading into the colder winter months. If you want to check in on your heating system on your own, here’s our furnace maintenance guide.

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Lack of Circulation

Repairing components is an essential part of heating system maintenance. As the parts that make up your heating system age they tend to degrade, which in many cases can compromise the entire system. Things like fan motors, bearings, and belts are all part of what allows your system to circulate air throughout your home, and when these integral parts fail airflow is significantly hampered. And when your furnace isn’t circulating air as intended it can overheat, leading to even more issues. Make sure that part of your maintenance includes you (or an HVAC professional) testing components of your system and replacing any that show signs of wear and degradation.

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Faulty Thermostat

Sometimes when it seems like a home is not being heated properly the problem is not with the heating system itself, but with its brain. A thermostat tells your heating system what to do, and any glitch or incompatibility in the thermostat can greatly affect the system’s overall performance. If you are having heating problems and your home’s thermostat is old and outdated, consider switching over to a newer model like a programable thermostat or a smart thermostat.

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Leaky Ducts

Air travels from your furnace the rest of your home through a series of ducts, and if one or more of those ducts has a leak your system’s efficiency will suffer. When air escapes through a leak in a duct, your furnace will have to keep running for longer to make up for the loss (costing you more money). Leaks can be hard to locate, but once you’ve found the spot air is escaping from you can easily plug it with silicone caulk or aluminum tape. Sealing all of the joints of your ducts is also a good idea, as plenty of heat is routinely lost in spots where ducts come together.