Can you believe it’s here already? It feels like we blinked our eyes for a second this spring and now we’re all of a sudden days away from 2021. While this is a phenomenon we’re all getting over, we need to act like this new year is still coming, even if it feels surreal. For many homeowners, this year will signify a big change—paying more attention to their HVAC systems.
Some homeowners might pay more attention to their air conditioners while others might care more about their heaters. We’re thankful for homeowners who are deciding to be more proactive regardless of the system, and we’re always going to help you reach the goals you set. That’s why we’ve decided to comprise a dedicated 2021 guide for homeowners that want to do right by their HVAC in Grand Rapids, MI. Keep your eyes peeled for some tips to stay vigilant and to prevent repairs in 2021.
Why Is My Heater Not Working?
What do you do when your home heating system is not working? Do you call your HVAC company, or search for solutions online? Do you have a guide or checklist to help you figure out the problem and fix it on your own?
This how-to guide on fixing common heater problems can help you save time and money by walking you through finding issues you may be able to fix yourself. For anything else, call your HVAC professional.
The Status of a Heater
We’re not here to point fingers or make anyone feel guilty about declining replacement services if their heater works just fine. We just want homeowners to be aware of what we look at when we’re deciding on the most cost-effective way of going forward. Heaters that age, or start showing signs of frequent problems, usually can only be comprehensively fixed through replacement.
- Age. Heating systems like furnaces and heat pumps are only supposed to last between 10–15 years. After that, all bets are off and a system could start breaking down or showing signs of excessive wear and tear. Not to mention warranties will be gone and repairs will start becoming more expensive. This is a great reason to start considering a replacement, even if the heating system still “technically works.”
- Frequent or Expensive Repairs.. If a heating system constantly requires help or requires constant expensive help, then it could be more affordable to cut losses and invest in a replacement. New models will have higher efficiency ratings, newer parts made out of sturdier materials, and will come with warranties as well.
- Uncomfortable Temperatures. How is a heater supposed to keep a family happy if it’s not providing heat? Heaters that aren’t up to snuff should be repaired at the bare minimum. If this is in conjunction with other problems, it might be time to consider a replacement.
- Low Efficiency. A heater should be able to heat a home at a reasonable cost each month. The more fuel or energy it has to consume to create enough heat, the less efficient it is. Many times this can be fixed with a repair. However, over time, a heater can lose efficiency and just be outmatched by other, newer models on the market.
What Can Go Wrong With Your Furnace
Homeowners can easily fix some furnace problems, while a professional should explore other problems. Your heating system is complex, and issues can range from something as simple as a dead battery in your wall thermostat to issues that are much more complicated and require specialized equipment to detect.
The good news is that common heater problems often have simple solutions. While it’s important to know when to call in a professional to work on your heating system, many furnace issues can be easy to fix yourself.
An Easy Guide for Common Heater Problems That You Can Fix:
1. Check the thermostats: are they on?
Make sure the displays are working. If the displays are off or blank on your wall-mounted thermostats, it could indicate that you may need to replace the batteries inside the thermostat.
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2. Check for power: check the breaker, switch, indicator light, and fuse
If your power is out, it can affect your heating system. You may need to flip your breaker switch on or check any easily accessible fuses. If you cycle the breaker, you may reset alarms, which will make it more difficult to diagnose further issues.
3. Check for gas: is the electricity or gas out?
Check other appliances that use electricity or gas to see if they operate correctly. If other appliances aren’t working, contact your gas or electricity service provider to let them know.
4. Check the air filter: it could be full
If your air filter is clogged, it could be preventing warm air from flowing into your ducts and circulating through your home. Professionals recommend replacing your 1” thick poly or pleated home air filter every 4-6 weeks for optimal system performance. If you have larger capacity filters, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
5. Check the pilot light: is it out?
If your furnace has a pilot light, check to see if it’s lit or off. It is off, check your heating system’s instruction manual for specific directions on lighting your pilot light. If you light the pilot and it goes out again, you will need to seek a professional to diagnose further.
Heater Maintenance Over the Winter
The best way to deal with common furnace problems is to prevent them. Scheduling regular maintenance of your system can help you identify issues early, saving you money in the long run, and keeping you from waiting until the heat goes out to find out that there’s a problem. Don’t get left out in the cold! Contact us for more information on scheduling heater maintenance service or repairs.
Change Filters Regularly
We talk about changing air filters a lot on this blog, but here’s a tip that we never really mention. Try setting up a rotating schedule with your heater and air conditioner (or if you have a heat pump, just one schedule for the whole year), where you replace the air filter every month or so. Once you start treating this job like any other chore, your HVAC system will thank you for it. You won’t have to read about our reminders to change your air filter, your heating, and air conditioning bills will go down, and your system will last a lot longer than otherwise.
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Avoid Making Things Worse
Most problems we see are ones that homeowners actively made worse. Be a more responsible homeowner this year and help your HVAC system achieve success.
- Don’t close off vents. This doesn’t make certain areas of your home any more comfortable, it just makes the job harder for your HVAC system.
- Don’t run things too hot or too cold to compensate. Milder temperatures are always better, and if your HVAC system can’t handle them, you need some help.
- Don’t shut your heater off when you’re not home. When temperatures suddenly drop and your pipes burst, you’ll regret having turned your heater off to save money.
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Upgrade Your Thermostat
When will you know that you need a new thermostat? Well, if you’re still using an analog thermostat or an old digital one that only lists out the numbers and nothing else, then you probably need a new one.
Frankly, all of these HVAC problems can be avoided with a state-of-the-art smart or Wi-Fi thermostat that can give you better control over your heating system. Change temperatures from anywhere, detect and work on bad heating or cooling habits, and you’ll be able to locate a problem.
Work with a Trustworthy Team
When you need help, are you going to go to the lowest-priced contractor in the area? Usually, that kind of work shows and you’ll run into the same problems year after year. When you work with a team like ours, you’ll encounter more long-term solutions and you won’t need to worry so much about this kind of stuff.