How to Handle HVAC Issues in Springboro This Winter
During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to see a significant increase in furnace and other heating component usage. Although modern heating systems are designed to handle a high level of wear and tear, they’re not indestructible. Therefore, you may encounter a number of problems resulting from a lack of maintenance, the age of your heating system or simply bad luck. However, understanding the signs and symptoms of HVAC problems, you may be able to take action to minimize the fallout these issues can cause.
The House Won’t Heat Evenly
There are a number of reasons why your house may not heat evenly in the winter, and a clogged duct or vent is often the cause of such a problem. This may be especially true if you haven’t had your home’s ducts cleaned in the last five years. In that time, a thick layer of dust, pet hair and other contaminants will likely have coated your home’s ducts. This reduces the amount of air that is allowed to travel throughout your house, which means that rooms closest to where the warm air originates may be warmer than those farther away.
Ducts or vents may also become clogged or blocked where rodents or other pests decide to make their nests. It isn’t uncommon for mice, rats and squirrels to get inside your home through a hole in the attic, garage or elsewhere in your house. After making their way inside, they may find that ducts provide an environment that is warm, safe and close to a reliable food source.
You should also be on the lookout for ducts that sag or otherwise not connected properly. Warm air that is sent through the ducts may escape through loose, sagging or disconnected ducts, which means that you are paying to keep drywall or insulation warm instead of your family.
Fortunately, our team at Universal Heating & Cooling can clean ducts and seal them so that they will remain clean for many years to come. Sealing ducts may also prevent pests from getting inside of them, which may prevent damage to other areas of your home as well. Our team can also help repair damaged ducts or take other steps to ensure proper airflow throughout your house.
When Was the Furnace Last Inspected?
In some cases, uneven airflow isn’t caused by a blocked duct or vent. Instead, it is caused by a furnace that is not running at peak condition. A furnace may be running at less than peak condition because it has a clogged air filter. It may also be hindered by dirty fans or motor blowers that are making it work harder than it needs to in an effort to produce sufficiently warm air.
In addition to the potential for uneven air flow, you may be taking years off of a furnace’s useful life by making it work harder than it needs to. Even if your overworked furnace doesn’t give out entirely, you could run the risk of a fan blade, blower motor or other component giving out. This could mean paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs that might be avoided simply by having the furnace cleaned and inspected on an annual basis.
Depending on the age of your current heating system, you may want to consider fully replacing it. In general, a furnace will last for about 20 years when properly installed and maintained. However, you may still benefit from a replacement even if your current unit hasn’t reached the end of its useful life as a newer unit may be more efficient. You can learn more about your options during an inspection, and our team would be happy to install your new furnace if you choose to purchase one.
The Thermostat Might Be the Problem
When working properly, the thermostat will accurately monitor the indoor temperature and signal the furnace after certain criteria have been met. For instance, during the day, the thermostat may signal the furnace to come on if the indoor temperature dips below 65 degrees when no one is home. At night, the house might be set to stay at 68 degrees for extra comfort while sleeping.
However, if there is a flaw with the thermostat, it may fail to activate the furnace when needed. There are many causes of thermostat problems such as dying batteries, a loose wire or improper placement within the home. While it is perfectly safe to change batteries on your own, it may be a good idea to have a professional fix any loose or frayed wires.
It’s also worth noting that the thermostat may go into a safety mode if there are issues with the furnace itself. Therefore, having a professional visit your home may make it easier to diagnose the root issue and ensure that the problem is fixed as quickly and affordably as possible.
Keep the Heat Pump Operational
If you have a heat pump installed on your property, it’s important to keep it from freezing. Easy ways to accomplish this task include changing the air filters at least once a month and shoveling away excess snow and ice that might accumulate around it during a winter weather event. Changing air filters on a regular basis ensures that there is proper airflow around the unit, which will reduce the likelihood of freezing. In lieu of manually clearing the area around the pump, you can install a warming device that will prevent snow or ice buildup.
Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Installing a gas furnace, stove or fireplace in your home can help to ensure that you have a steady source of heat during the winter months. However, it may also increase the risk of a carbon monoxide leak. Leaks may be caused by clogged vents, blockages in the chimney or because the furnace fails to completely discharge.
Carbon monoxide does not emit any type of color or smell, so you won’t be able to detect it on your own. Therefore, it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and have it inspected annually to ensure that it still works properly. It’s fairly common for an item called mercaptan to be mixed with natural gas. This is what causes a gas leak to give off a rotten egg smell.
However, the same smell can also be caused by other gases in your home that may be more of a nuisance than an imminent threat to your health and safety. If you do smell rotten eggs in your home, don’t hesitate to shut off the gas and call your local utility to perform an inspection.
If you are in need of HVAC repair or maintenance service this winter in Springboro, don’t hesitate to call us at Universal Heating & Cooling today! We can also maintain your home’s air conditioner, add insulation to the attic or take other steps to ensure that your house is comfortable throughout the year.