How to Detect and Fix Common Heating Issues on Your Own

When the cooler weather settles in, your heating system becomes a main function in your home, providing comfort and warmth. However, like any complex machinery, heating systems can encounter issues from time to time. Before calling in the professionals, there are several common heating issues you can tackle on your own.

At Chas Roberts, an Arizona-based HVAC business with a long-standing commitment to keeping Arizonans comfortable, we understand the importance of a well-functioning heating system.

In this blog post, we’ll share our expertise to empower you to troubleshoot and resolve heating issues effectively.

Six Ways You Can Detect and Fix Heating Issues on Your Own

Checking Your Thermostat

One of the simplest yet often overlooked reasons for heating issues is a misconfigured or malfunctioning thermostat.

Is the thermostat set correctly?

Before you start troubleshooting your heating system, make sure your thermostat is set to the desired temperature. It’s common for settings to be inadvertently changed, leading to uncomfortable indoor temperatures.

Does the thermostat need new batteries?

Many modern thermostats are battery-powered, and a low battery can cause communication problems between the thermostat and your heating system. Replace the batteries with fresh ones to ensure proper function.

Calibrating your thermostat for accuracy

If you suspect that your thermostat is not accurately reflecting the room temperature, you can calibrate it. To do this, place a reliable thermometer near the thermostat and compare the readings. Consult your thermostat manual for instructions on how to calibrate it if needed or reach out to Chas Roberts to help.

Inspecting Air Filters

A clogged or dirty air filter is a common culprit for heating issues, and it’s also one of the easiest problems to fix.

How dirty filters affect heating performance

When the air filter is clogged with dust and debris, it restricts the airflow to your furnace or heat pump. This leads to reduced efficiency and an overworked system, potentially causing it to malfunction or shut down.

How often should you change your filters?

Regularly changing your air filters is crucial for maintaining proper airflow and indoor air quality. As a rule of thumb, check your filters monthly and replace them every 1 to 3 months, depending on factors like the type of filter, the number of pets in your home, and your indoor air quality needs.

How to change a home air filter:

  1. Turn off your heating system.
  2. Locate the filter compartment, usually found near the return air duct or the furnace.
  3. Remove the old filter and dispose of it properly.
  4. Insert a new, clean filter, ensuring it’s placed in the correct direction (there’s often an arrow indicating the airflow direction).
  5. Close the filter compartment securely.
  6. Turn your heating system back on.

Regular filter maintenance not only helps prevent heating issues but also extends the lifespan of your HVAC equipment and improves indoor air quality.

Examining Air Ducts and Vents

Proper airflow is essential for efficient heating. Your air ducts and vents play a critical role in distributing warm air throughout your home.

Are all vents open and unobstructed?

Check that all supply and return vents in your home are open and free of obstructions. Closed or blocked vents can disrupt the balance of airflow and cause heating problems in specific areas of your home.

Inspecting ductwork for leaks

Leaky ducts can waste a significant amount of heated air, reducing the efficiency of your heating system. Inspect your ductwork for visible holes or gaps, and seal them using duct tape or mastic sealant. For more extensive ductwork issues, consider consulting a professional HVAC technician.

DIY duct sealing techniques

To seal smaller gaps or joints in your ductwork, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the area around the gap or joint with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris.
  2. Apply duct tape or mastic sealant over the gap, ensuring a secure and airtight seal.
  3. Allow the sealant to dry completely before turning on your heating system.

Regularly maintaining your ducts and vents ensures efficient heat distribution throughout your home.

Pilot Light and Ignition Issues

If you have a gas furnace, a malfunctioning pilot light or ignition system can disrupt your heating.

Understanding the pilot light’s role

The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas in your furnace’s burners. If it goes out or won’t stay lit, your heating system won’t function properly.

Relighting a pilot light

Follow these steps to relight a pilot light:

  1. Turn the thermostat to the lowest setting.
  2. Locate the pilot light access panel on your furnace.
  3. Turn the gas control knob to the “off” position and wait for at least five minutes to allow any lingering gas to dissipate.
  4. Turn the gas control knob to the “pilot” position and press it down. While holding it down, use a long lighter or match to ignite the pilot light.
  5. Continue holding down the gas control knob for about one minute, then release it.
  6. If the pilot light remains lit, turn the gas control knob to the “on” position.
  7. Turn the thermostat back to your desired temperature to test if the heating system operates correctly.

Troubleshooting ignition problems

If your furnace uses an electronic ignition system and you suspect it’s malfunctioning, it’s best to consult a professional HVAC technician for diagnostics and repairs. Electronic ignition systems are more complex and may require specialized tools and expertise to troubleshoot and fix.

Unusual Noises from Your Furnace

Unusual noises coming from your furnace can be annoying and indicative of underlying issues.

Identifying common furnace noises

Furnaces can produce various noises, including banging, rattling, squealing, or humming. Each type of noise can point to specific problems, such as loose components, a failing blower motor, or worn-out bearings.

DIY Solutions for Noise Reduction

While some furnace noises may require professional attention, you can try the following DIY steps to reduce noise:

Tighten loose components: If you hear rattling or banging noises, inspect the furnace for loose screws, bolts, or panels. Tighten them as needed.

Change the air filter: A clogged filter can cause whistling or hissing sounds. Replacing the filter can alleviate these noises.

Lubricate moving parts: Squealing or screeching noises may indicate that certain components, like the blower motor or fan, need lubrication. Refer to your furnace’s manual for guidance on proper lubrication.

Clear debris: If you hear a rumbling sound, it might be due to debris in the ductwork or around the furnace. Ensure the area is clear of any obstructions.

Remember that some furnace noises, especially those related to internal mechanical components, may require professional attention. Don’t hesitate to contact Chas Roberts for expert diagnosis and repairs.

Inadequate Heat Output

If your heating system isn’t providing sufficient warmth, it’s essential to identify the root cause.

Causes of insufficient heat

Several factors can lead to inadequate heat output, including:

Thermostat issues: A thermostat that isn’t functioning correctly may not signal your heating system to produce enough heat.

Clogged air filters: As mentioned earlier, dirty filters can restrict airflow, reducing the system’s ability to heat your home effectively.

Ductwork problems: Leaky or poorly insulated ducts can result in heat loss, preventing warm air from reaching your living spaces.

Insulation deficiencies: Insufficient insulation in your home can cause heat to escape, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature.

How to balance heat distribution

To improve heat distribution throughout your home:

Ensure your thermostat is set correctly: Verify that your thermostat is set to your desired temperature and that it’s working accurately.

Replace air filters: Replace clogged or dirty filters to improve airflow and heating efficiency.

Seal ductwork: Address any ductwork leaks and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to prevent heat loss.

Upgrade insulation: Enhance your home’s insulation to minimize heat escape and maintain a more consistent temperature.

In some cases, you may need professional assistance to assess and resolve issues related to inadequate heat output effectively.

Why Regular Maintenance is Important for Your HVAC

Prevention is key to avoiding heating issues in the first place. Regular maintenance can help you identify and address potential problems before they become major headaches.

The importance of annual HVAC maintenance

Scheduling annual maintenance with a qualified HVAC technician, like those at Chas Roberts, is a smart investment. During a maintenance visit, the technician will:

  • Clean and inspect critical components.
  • Identify and address minor issues before they escalate.
  • Ensure your system operates at peak efficiency.
  • Extend the lifespan of your heating equipment.

DIY maintenance tips

While professional maintenance is crucial, there are some DIY maintenance tasks you can perform between service visits:

  • Keep the area around your furnace and vents clean and unobstructed.
  • Change air filters regularly.
  • Monitor your thermostat for accurate temperature readings.

By combining professional HVAC maintenance with these DIY efforts, you’ll minimize the risk of heating issues and enjoy a more reliable system throughout the year.

Learn about our Monthly MVP Plan

When it comes to ensuring your air conditioner or heater receives the care it deserves, look no further than our monthly MVP Plan. With this cost-effective solution, you can enjoy peace of mind all year round, receiving top-notch service twice per year. To learn more about how you can maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC system, check out our MVP Plan here: Chas Roberts MVP Plan.

When to Call a Chas Roberts Professional

Consider contacting a professional if you encounter any of the following scenarios:

  • Your heating system produces unusual or persistent noises.
  • There’s no improvement in heat output despite your DIY efforts.
  • Your pilot light or ignition system continues to malfunction.
  • You suspect ductwork or furnace repairs are necessary.
  • You want to schedule regular maintenance to prevent future issues.

Chas Roberts has been serving Arizona residents for years, ensuring their comfort and safety with our HVAC services. When you need professional assistance with heating issues or want to schedule preventative maintenance, our team is here to help.

Contact our Tucson office at 520.549.4172. or our Metro Phoenix office at 602.386.2732.