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Common Cold Weather HVAC Problems

 

Updated January 3rd, 2023

 

How is your home’s HVAC handling the current cold weather? If you’re experiencing issues, don’t worry! Texas Ace Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help. Today, we’re covering five of the most common HVAC issues that we see flaring up during the colder seasons. We’ve also included some information on potential DIY solutions that can get you by until you can get a professional HVAC technician out to help. 

If you need help from the pros to get your home’s heating working properly, call the team at Texas Ace Heating and Air. We’re always available to help provide assistance or perform HVAC repair work. We’re here to help make sure that you and your family stay safe and comfortable this winter.

1. Uneven Temperature or Poor HVAC Air Flow

There are a few different causes behind inconsistent temperatures and poor airflow. The solution will vary depending on the specific issues you’re running into. If some rooms are much colder than others, check the seals on your windows and exterior doorways in that room. Drafty windows can lead to a lot of heat and energy loss. 

What to do:

Replace your weather stripping. Thankfully, replacement weather stripping is relatively cheap, and installing it is a DIY job that you can handle in under an hour! If the window and door seals are functioning properly but the room is still cold, you may have an issue with your HVAC system. In this case, ensure that the vents/grilles are open and that they aren’t being blocked by furniture or clutter.

If the problem continues, it’s time to call in the professionals! A professional HVAC technician will perform an inspection of your home’s heating elements and ductwork to locate the cause of your issues. In most cases, they can also repair your system’s issues during the inspection, getting your home back to a comfortable temperature.

2. Frozen or Burst Pipes

Your sprinkler pipes aren’t the only pipes that can freeze over during the winter! If the weather outside gets cold enough, uninsulated pipes in your home may be subjected to cold conditions. This is especially true for exposed pipes in the garage, in the basement, or in other unheated rooms around the house. Pipes, coils, and outdoor units may freeze over in extreme weather. This can have a negative impact on appliances that use water. Hot water heaters, steam radiators, and other hydronic systems can fail to function if frozen pipes interfere with their water supply.

What to do:

Invest in appropriate insulation for your home’s water pipes. One potential solution many homeowners use is to leave at least one faucet in the house running at a very slow trickle so that water doesn’t freeze in the pipes. It’s important to note that this isn’t a surefire solution and should only be used in the short term. Appropriate insulation is a must. Frozen pipes are more than just an inconvenience — they can also cause thousands of dollars in damage if they burst. Since water expands when it freezes, pipes full of ice can become pressurized and burst, leading to flooding. If this happens, you’ll need to turn off your home’s water supply as soon as possible and call professionals to repair the damaged pipes.

3. Heat Pump is Frozen or Broken

Heat pumps are gaining popularity, and for good reason. These energy-efficient home heating systems can actually work to cool your home down in the hotter seasons. While they are usually reliable, heat pumps can be impacted by severe cold weather. Heavy snow and icy winds can lead to heating pump malfunctions. A heat pump left in the cold for too long without being run may freeze. When this happens, a heat pump needs to defrost before it can run again.

What to do: 

Regularly clear away frost and ice buildup to help prevent the pump from freezing completely. Keep the coils and fan clear of frost as well as you can, and make sure that there are no blockages preventing the fans from turning. If your heat pump is frozen, don’t panic. Oftentimes, systems will automatically defrost over the course of 3 to 4 hours.  If your system doesn’t have a defrost setting, or if the setting is broken, schedule an HVAC service right away. The longer the pump is left frozen, the more ice can build up, making it harder and harder for the system to defrost itself.

In addition, it is worth noting that heat pumps can have a number of other issues that might be contributing to a poor defrosting system. Broken fan motors and blocked coils are common problems that also cause a heat pump to fail. If you’re unable to diagnose and repair the issue yourself, call a professional!

4. Thermostat is Faulty or Broken

Sometimes, the problem behind poor heating doesn’t have anything to do with the actual heating unit! An inaccurate or faulty thermostat can cause heating issues around your home. If you’re not sure whether or not your thermostat is accurate, you can perform a simple test to check if it’s getting a proper reading.

What to do:

If your thermostat is faulty, there could be a few different causes behind it. Faulty wiring or broken elements are two potential causes. If it’s an issue with broken hardware, you’ll likely need to replace your thermostat with a new one. We’ve talked before about smart thermostats and how effective they are when it comes to keeping your home comfortable. If your current unit is broken and in need of replacement, it’s a perfect time to upgrade your home to a smart thermostat!

5. Dirty HVAC Air Filters

Nothing lowers efficiency faster than a dirty air filter! If you’re experiencing poor airflow, uneven heating, or the smell of dust coming, it’s likely time to replace your unit’s air filter. This is an especially common problem when cold weather first sets in. If your filters weren’t replaced during the warm spring and summer months, you may be dealing with several months of built-up dirt, dust, and debris. Learn more about why it’s so important to change your air filters.

What to do:

Replace your air filter on schedule. Replacing your air filter is simple, and you should be able to do this yourself in just a few minutes. If you replace the filter and still notice that your home’s airflow is less than optimal, you’ll want to call in the pros. Reduced airflow can have a lot of different causes, and an HVAC technician will be able to inspect your motor, fans, and ductwork to check for other bigger problems!

 

 

Find HVAC Services Near You

If you need HVAC service fast, call Texas Ace Heating and Air! We serve the DFW area as well as the Mid-Cities, HEB, and North Texas regions with fast, professional, and reliable heating and air conditioning services. Whether you need immediate repairs or routine maintenance performed, our team is here to help. Contact Texas Ace today to schedule a service.