Right now, most Americans are moving into what are referred to as the shoulder months. Depending on the area of the country, this term can include September, October, November, and even December. However, eventually (and in some cases, rather abruptly) those shoulder months come to an end. Then, one finds him- or herself in the midst of the heating season.
Cold temperatures certainly mean blankets, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, and jackets for many people, but when you start needing more of those things indoors, it becomes clear that there might be an issue with the HVAC system. When this happens, there could be a few different components working against you and causing you to pile on the blankets or to wear gloves inside. Here is a list of the five most common causes of poorly performing heating:
- Filters If you are just noticing that your system is not keeping up with the heating demands of your space, then the first thing to do is to have the filters inspected. Often clogged or dirty filters can cause inefficiencies and to clean or replace them costs very little.
- Belts These small components, and other similar items within the system, can cause issues if they fail and it won’t always be evident until you realize that your space is “freezing!” This is why it is such a good idea to have a professional HVAC technician inspect your equipment during the shoulder months.
- Leaks Refrigerant leaks aren’t just a problem in the summer. They can also cause trouble with your heating in the winter. How? The leaks can actually cause filters to literally freeze up, as a result of the moisture that they trap. That, of course means less air flow and less heat entering the space. Puddles beneath your equipment can be a clear sign of leaks, but just keep in mind that condenser pipes will regularly let off moisture, which could puddle.
- Electrical components Please do not attempt to correct electrical issues on your own. If you suspect that this may be a problem, contact a professional to diagnose and correct the issue.
- Overall wear and tear Unfortunately, in some cases, a minor repair is not all that is needed to correct a malfunctioning HVAC system. This equipment does not have an infinite lifespan. Eventually, it will wear out and then replacement will be necessary. If a cause of the poor HVAC performance cannot be detected, consider the age of the equipment and that it may be time to uprade. That isn’t entirely bad news. New systems, especially with added sensors and controls, can drastically improve the efficiency of your home, thereby reducing your monthly expenses.