10 Most Common Central Heating Problems

Good day neighbor; out researching common central heating problems?

No one can blame you, especially if it happens to be Winter as you’re reading this. Central heating systems tend to go into hissy fits around this time of the year when they’re zapped into service after sleeping through the summer.

But before we get started, is the reason you’re here on our blog right now because your HVAC system is experiencing problems?

You think maybe it’s time for a replacement?

Attempting to save money by monkeying with your system yourself?

Maybe you’re just researching what kind of HVAC system you want to invest in and curious about upkeep costs.

Whatever your reason, it begins with the kind of system you have, so let’s briefly look at the Home Heating System Types we come across in our line of work.

  • Furnace – A Forced-Air Distribution System: Typically powered by gas, these heating systems heat up air via electricity, propane or oil, then push it throughout your home through a network of ducts.
  • Boiler – A Radiator Distribution System: Rather than just heating the air, common boiler heating systems use hot water or steam to do the job from a central location – which is then pushed out.
  • Heat Pump: For folks in temperate Northern California, heat pumps are a great option. They’re versatile because they can be used to heat or cool the home using refrigerant and electricity.
  • Hybrid Heating Systems: Simply put – modern hybrid heating systems combine the energy efficiency of a heat pump with the power of a gas furnace which only switches on in extremely cold temperatures.
  • Ductless Mini-Splits: When you have a larger home with lots of rooms, or you just want to have complete control of your in-home atmosphere, these systems create separate HVAC zones with separate thermostats.
  • Radiant Heating: These systems can last, and last, but there’s definitely drawbacks in terms of maintenance. They send hot water or electric heat through a tubing network in the floor, ceiling, or walls.
  • Baseboard Heaters: These systems give you two options – electric or hydronic – and are great for supplemental heating purposes.

Each one of these systems has its pros and cons. Depending on the type of energy being used and the distribution system, there’s a huge, long list of potential problems you could experience.

Obviously, we can’t go through them all here in this article today.

So, what we decided to do was take a look at a few months of our more maintenance-related calls from new customers. Our regular Maintenance Value Plan (MVP) Customers rarely experience these issues.

Here are the 10 most common:

  1. No Maintenance! Often it’s not our customers who deliberately neglected their home’s HVAC system, they’re just away for big chunks of the year or the previous owners neglected to have the HVAC system professionally maintained. Whether it’s a newer system with defects, or a much older system that’s come do, we can help.
  2. No Tune Ups! On the other hand, we come across systems which have been ‘repaired’ by contractors or the homeowner’s friend’s brother’s nephew. When we show up for the first tune up, we find it hasn’t had one since installation!
  3. Dirty Filters (Or Worse): Often folks don’t want to touch or tinker with their systems. They feel the system is too complex and don’t want to get their hands dirty…literally, by simply replacing dirty filters which leads to an assortment of problems.
  4. General Wear & Tear: HVAC systems are mechanical and break down over time.
  5. Electric Ignition & Pilot Control Malfunctions: This is a perfect example of a situation where most homeowners don’t want to tinker with their system and give us a call. Our techs come out, troubleshoot the issue and get it resolved.
  6. Thermostat Troubles: Not only will our technicians come on out and see what the issue is with your new thermostat, they’ll ensure you know how to use it effectively throughout the year as well.
  7. Diminishing or No Heat: While there is an assortment of causes to why a furnace or heating system would diminish in effectiveness, it’s often a sign the unit needs replacing. Other times it’s a simple quick service call.
  8. Never ending Blowers: Not only is it blowing and blowing, but there’s not much temperature control.
  9. The Really Loud Furnace: It could be the bearings in the blower motor or the motor itself. Often due to lack of maintenance or regular tune ups, this is because the lubrication’s run out. Maybe the blower belt is damaged.
  10. Too Frequent Cycling: Short cycling is a symptom of your system being overheated. Or it may be that the heat exchanger is damaged or broken. Either way, our techs have fully-stocked trucks with all the parts they’ll need to do the job.

Have you ever had to deal with any of those before? When you work in the HVAC industry, they’re a daily occurrence and as easy to fix as a flat tire for a mechanic. For more complex issues or HVAC emergencies, it’s best to contact professionals.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully you’re not experiencing any of these right now! Ideally, we want your HVAC system to be a stalwart, reliable and effective part of your life. Contact Service Champions today and we’ll get you into our MVP program so these types of headaches are a thing of the past. To learn more, check out our HVAC Maintenance & Safety Checklist.

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