Five heating problems you may encounter this winter
A quick look at the calendar reminds us that your furnace or boiler has been on the job for more than three months straight, working hard day and night to keep your family warm and comfortable in your northern Fairfield or northern Westchester home. But there’s still a long way to go in winter 2019-20, with nighttime temperatures in our area likely to dip into the 40s well into May.
Sometimes the strain of winter can start to take a toll on your heating equipment as the season wears on, leading to problems that could require a heating expert’s touch to fix. Here are some heating issues you may encounter in the months ahead, and what to do if you find them.
- Dry indoor air – Winter air is already dryer than it is at any other time of the year, but a forced air heating system that isn’t working properly could make your air even dryer. Once humidity drops below healthy levels inside your home (typically 35-50 percent during the winter months) things can get uncomfortable, especially for people with respiratory issues. If you haven’t had one yet this year, schedule a tune-up for your heating equipment and consider adding a whole house humidifier to your HVAC system.
- Excessive cycling – If your heating system turns on and off more than it should (we call this “cycling”), it could indicate one of several problems, including a clogged air filter or a faulty thermostat. Check both, changing the filter and swapping out the thermostat if needed. If cycling continues, contact us for service.
- A CO leak – A carbon monoxide (CO) leak can pose a potentially deadly hazard in your home. CO leaks are most common in older heating systems, so if your equipment is into its second decade, make sure to have it serviced every year. It is also critical to install carbon monoxide detectors at every level of your house and test them periodically, replacing batteries at least once per year.
- Hot and cold spots – Inconsistent room-to-room temperatures in your home could be the result of either a problem with your heating system or drafts letting cold air in. To take care of the latter, try replacing caulking and weather stripping around exterior windows and adding door sweeps, and consider beefing up your insulation if it’s below recommended R-value levels. If these measures don’t do the trick, you could have an issue with a clogged 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 heating tune-up).
- No heat – If your furnace or boiler won’t start at all, please take these six steps before you call for service – it could save you the cost of a service call:
- Check to see if you have enough heating oil or propane.
- 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.
It’s not too late for annual heating system service. Contact Casey Energy today to schedule service with our expert heating technicians in northern Fairfield and northern Westchester counties!