When the weather gets cold, the heat turns on. But heating problems in cold weather can definitely put a cramp in your style. What are the most common issues people have with their heaters? And what can you do to fix or prevent them?
Common Heating Problems in Cold Weather
Inefficient Heat Pump
Heat pumps are very popular in the South, because they work as a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. A heat pump runs on refrigerant and air. It transfers heat from the outside air and, with the help of refrigerant, moves it into your home. When it gets very cold outside, though, there isn’t enough heat to transfer. At that point, a hybrid heat pump switches to electricity backup, or strip heating. Strip heating is inefficient and costly, but it will keep your house toasty warm on cold days. Learn more about specific heating problems in cold weather if you have a heat pump.
If have an oil furnace, it runs on some kind of heating oil. The oil is typically kept in an outdoor storage tank. One of the potential heating problems in cold weather involves the clouding and gelling of your oil. Unlike water, oil doesn’t freeze. But it does have wax particles in it, and these particles harden as the temperature drops. As they harden, they sink to the bottom of your oil tank. A sludge forms, and it can turn into an oil line blockage if the weather remains below about 16° Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. You can add certain chemicals to your oil to prevent it from gelling in cold weather.
Frozen Condensate Line
When the temperature drops below freezing, you may end up with a frozen condensate line. The condensate line gets rid of the moisture created as your heating system operates. If it freezes and blocks the pipe, water will back up into your condensation drip pan. This could lead to some serious water damage. Make sure that you thaw a frozen condensate line right away, before it causes major problems.
Is your home cozy and warm – except for one area? One of the most common heating problems in cold weather is inconsistent temperatures. Cold or hot spots become much more pronounced when the weather is extreme. There are several reasons why you may be experiencing uneven temperature in your home. First, check to make sure all of your vents and dampers are open. Cold spots can also be caused by duct leaks or poor insulation. Examine your windows to see if they are thoroughly sealed. If your air conditioner is improperly sized, it will not be able to heat your entire home. That can manifest as cold spots in certain areas.
Your HVAC Turns On and Off
If your heater is turning on and off repeatedly, don’t worry. In the winter, your HVAC system might turn on seven or eight times in an hour. The temperature dips a bit, and your heat kicks in. Once you’re back to temperature, it turns off. The only time this is a heating problem is if your HVAC is turning on for seconds rather than several minutes.
HVAC short cycling occurs when your system turns off before it completes a full cycle. There are several possible reasons why your HVAC might be short cycling. Make sure the filter is clean and unclogged. If the short cycling continues, call a technician. He or she can check that you have enough refrigerant and see if any parts might be starting to fail.
Are you experiencing heating problems in cold weather? You don’t have to suffer through the winter months. Call Newcomb and Company and get the issue taken care of. We’ll send an experienced and knowledgeable technician to your home to analyze the problem and implement a solution.