Even though Orange Park has quite warm winters, many homes still have a furnace or a heat pump for staying warm on colder days. Finding that your heating suddenly stops working when you need it can be incredibly frustrating, and this issue can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common issues that can cause your heating to stop working and how to overcome them. And if you need help or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our Orange Park HVAC experts at Von’s Heating and Air!
1. Dirty Air Filter
Whether you use a furnace or heat pump for heating, it is vital that you change your air filter regularly. As your heating system runs, the air filter collects dust, hair, lint, and other debris to prevent it from getting inside the system and potentially damaging any of the components. If you don’t replace the filter once every 30 to 90 days, it can become so clogged that almost no air can flow through it and little to no hot air will blow out of your vents.
2. Gas or Electrical Supply Issues
Any issues with the gas or electrical supply can cause your furnace to stop working, and electricity supply issues can also impact your heat pump. If your furnace or heat pump won’t turn on, the first thing to do is check to make sure that the circuit breaker isn’t tripped. Regular maintenance should also help to prevent loose connections or wiring issues that can prevent your heating system from running. If the unit continually trips the breaker, you will need to have it inspected as this can indicate a burnt-out motor or an electrical short.
3. Ductwork Issues
If your ducts are extremely dirty or leaking air, it can limit how much hot air circulates throughout the home. Dirty ducts create a huge amount of air resistance that makes it more difficult for the blower fan to pump air through the ductwork. Any holes or gaps in the ductwork can also allow much of the hot air to escape. If the ducts run through a colder area like a crawl space, any leaks can also allow lots of cold air to get inside the system. When this happens, it can lead to almost no heat coming out of the vents. The solution to these issues is to have your ducts cleaned or resealed.
4. Pilot Light or Igniter Issues
Most furnaces use some type of electronic ignition to ignite the gas inside the unit. Some older furnaces may still have a standing pilot light with a constant flame. If the pilot light goes out or can’t stay lit, it will prevent the furnace from igniting. The same can also happen if the electronic igniter fails. In either case, you will need to have a technician inspect the furnace to determine what is causing the igniter issues.
5. Dirty Flame Sensor
The flame sensor in a furnace is an important safety mechanism that prevents gas from flowing if the furnace isn’t lit. If you don’t have your furnace maintained yearly, the flame sensor will often become too dirty to work properly. This will lead the furnace to only ever run for a few seconds before shutting off, and the solution to this issue is to have the flame sensor cleaned.
Furnaces and heat pumps can both overheat for a variety of reasons such as insufficient airflow caused by a dirty air filter or leaking ducts. Whenever the unit starts to overheat, it will automatically shut down to prevent the heat from damaging the motors or other components. If you find that your heating system shuts down frequently before it can properly heat your home, you will need to have the system inspected to determine what is causing it to overheat.
7. Cracked Heat Exchanger
This is potentially a much more serious problem that can cause your furnace to produce very little heat and also create a risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Heat exchangers usually crack due to high temperatures caused by a lack of cold air flowing into the unit. If the heat exchanger cracks, it will allow the hot combustion gases to escape and the air flowing into the furnace won’t receive much heat. Depending on the age of your furnace, it often makes more sense to replace the entire unit if the heat exchanger is cracked.
8. Thermostat Issues
Your thermostat can also suffer from issues that prevent your heating system from turning on or creating enough heat. One common issue is that the batteries are old and no longer have sufficient charge to allow the thermostat to signal the furnace or heat pump to start. It could also be that the thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly or that it is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
9. Faulty Capacitor
Most all HVAC units have a start capacitor that helps provide additional power to jump-start the motors. The capacitor in a heat pump helps power both the compressor motor and the fan motor. In some cases, this same capacitor will also power the blower fan motor, but the blower motor may also have its own capacitor. All of these motors require a huge amount of energy when starting. If the capacitor fails, it won’t be able to release its stored electrical charge to start the motor. If you hear a clicking noise coming from your blower fan or heat pump when your heating system tries to kick on, it means that the capacitor has failed and will need to be replaced.
10. Malfunctioning Blower Fan
If the blower fan doesn’t run for any reason, no heat will come out of your vents even when the furnace or heat pump is running. This issue most commonly means that the blower motor has failed and needs to be replaced. It can also occur due to electrical and wiring issues. If you don’t hear the fan running when your heating is on, you will need to have it inspected and repaired.
11. Heat Pump Issues
Your heat pump can fail to run for several different reasons. One potential cause is a failed compressor motor, and this issue usually requires you to replace the entire heat pump unit. This issue will often lead to the circuit breaker tripping whenever the heat pump tries to start.
Another possible cause is a broken reversing valve. This valve is what changes the direction that the refrigerant flows so the heat pump can switch between cooling and heating. If the valve breaks, it will cause the heat pump to only work in one mode. If the heat pump will turn on when the thermostat is set to cool but won’t run when set to heat, you will need to have the reversing valve replaced.
Get Help from the Orange Park Heating Pros!
If you’re having any issues with your heating system, the technicians at Von’s Heating and Air can inspect your system and quickly determine the cause of the problem and the best way to repair it. We repair, maintain, and install furnaces and heat pumps, and we work on air conditioning systems. Our team also specializes in air duct cleaning and installs and maintains indoor air quality equipment for customers in Orange Park and the surrounding areas. To schedule a heating inspection or tune-up, give us a call today!