There’s a good reason why so-called “snowbirds” flock to Florida as a winter retreat: we have one of the mildest winters in the continental US. Sub-freezing temperatures are rare, the humidity is often mild, and the sun is usually shining even on cooler days.
However, that doesn’t mean freezes and cold snaps can’t be miserable, especially when it’s just as cold inside your home as it is outdoors!
Worse, when you’re struggling with a broken heater, diagnosing the issue can become a nightmare fast. How do you even know where to start troubleshooting?
We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at some of the most common HVAC problems our team sees during the winter months.
Sometimes, our heater technicians show up to jobs that turn out to be simple mistakes. If you’re lucky, the only HVAC problems you’ll have to deal with this winter will involve user error!
If you’re struggling to get enough heat throughout your home, here are a few things to troubleshoot first:
- Have you missed a warning for low batteries in the thermostat?
- Are the settings switched to “heat” mode?
- Is the fan switched to “auto” rather than “on”?
- Is the current temperature set to the one you want?
- Are your home’s vents or registers closed or obstructed?
- Have you checked and cleaned your air filter recently?
- Has your system blown a fuse or tripped a breaker?
- Does your home have enough insulation?
If you’ve missed any of these simple settings, make changes and wait a few minutes to see if your system turns on.
Don’t forget to set your thermostat to around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, scheduling it to dip a few degrees lower while you’re away at work. This temperature keeps your home energy efficient and can reduce your monthly energy bills.
Leaks and Fumes
Because most of us run our heaters more often in the winter, we’re more likely to encounter leaks and fumes. Any unusual smells, bubbling or dripping sounds, or other red flags should be a cause for concern, but you should be especially wary when it’s cold outside.
If you have a gas-powered furnace, leaks from the gas line can cause headaches and dizziness. It can also increase your risk of a fire or explosion.
If your heater’s vents become blocked, it may force combustion fumes back into your home, causing you to breathe carbon monoxide. This is a serious health hazard, and it’s the reason you should test your carbon monoxide detector at least once a month.
Refrigerant leaks can become a problem any time of the year, but homeowners are most often surprised by them in the winter. Your HVAC system still needs refrigerant to heat your home in cold weather! Refrigerant is a serious health hazard, so if you notice hissing or bubbling sounds or otherwise suspect a leak, contact a technician to fix the issue.
Fan Motor Issues
Your HVAC system needs its fan motor year-round, so wear and tear can take a serious toll. If your blower can’t move heat into your home, you’re more likely to notice inconsistent temperatures and poor system performance. This might come hand in hand with squealing, clanking, or screeching noises as the system runs.
Regular heater maintenance can often catch these issues before they start. Proper lubrication and the occasional part replacement can usually keep this component running.
Frozen Heat Pump
Despite our mild winters here in Florida, it’s still possible for a heat pump to freeze over. This happens because your system is always trying to move moisture and condensation away from your home during its usual operation.
As your system does this, especially on cooler days, moisture can begin to freeze over the heat pump. This is especially common when the air is humid, though it can also happen due to low refrigerant levels or airflow obstructions. If enough frost builds up, it can get harder and harder for your system to deliver the warm air you need.
Little to No Heating Performance
One of the most frustrating signs of a broken heater is poor performance, especially when you need your system most. This can come in several forms.
You may notice short cycling, which is when your system turns on and heats your home well before switching off far too soon. Sometimes, your system may start and stop over and over in an attempt to reach your desired temperature. This constant cycling can happen for many reasons, and it can put a serious strain on your HVAC system, so be sure to call an expert for help.
If your system runs but you’re only getting cold air, the most likely culprit is a malfunctioning heating element. You’ll need a replacement to get your system back up and running.
If your system isn’t turning on at all, you could be dealing with any number of heating problems, from electrical issues to part failure. Ask your local HVAC company about repairing your heater.
Last, but not least, our team sometimes sees heater issues that happen through poor previous service.
If you hired a company that installed a heater that isn’t the right size for your home, for example, your system may struggle to match your desired temperature.
If your previous company performed a sloppy installation, you may have an unstable outdoor unit, improper placement, high energy bills, or major repair issues with a new system.
Make sure to reach out to a qualified, experienced, and reputable team in your area for a fix!
Get Broken Heater Repair Today
Going without adequate heating can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, even in mild climates like Florida’s. Don’t wait for a cold snap to wish you’d already scheduled a repair!
To ensure that your HVAC system can handle anything this winter can throw at it, Key Heating and Cooling is here to help. Our fully licensed company is proud to offer expert heater repair services throughout the Tallahassee area, and we’ve been a trusted local brand since 1981. Contact us today to schedule maintenance or repair services.