Common Cold Weather HVAC Problems

Is your home ready for the coming cold weather? Here are five of the most common HVAC problems that can flare up during the colder seasons. We’ve included some information on how you can attempt to tackle these problems with a DIY approach. If you need help from the pros to get your home’s heating working properly,  call the team at Texas Ace Heating and Air any time you need assistance or repair work done. We’re here to help make sure that you stay safe and comfortable this winter.

 

1. Uneven Air Flow & Temperature

Issues with air flow and inconsistent temperature can have a few different causes. 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. Thankfully, replacement weather stripping is relatively cheap, and its a DIY installation that you can handle in under an hour! Afterward, if the window and door seals are functioning properly but the room is still cold, you may have an issue with your HVAC system. Next, ensure that the vents are not being blocked by furniture or clutter. Remove any visible debris that you can.

If the problem continues, it’s time to call in the professionals! They can perform an inspection of all of your home’s different elements and ductwork. A professional HVAC technician will be able to locate and repair your system’s issues, getting your home back to a comfortable temperature.

 

2. Frozen 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 or other unheated rooms. Pipes, coils, and outdoor units may freeze over in extreme weather. This causes them to stop functioning properly. Hot water heaters, steam radiators, and other hydronic systems can fail to function if frozen water interferes with their supply of water. 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. In this case, you’ll need to turn off your home’s water supply as soon as possible and call professionals to repair the damaged pipes.

 

3. Faulty Heat Pump

Heavy snows and icy winds can lead to heating pump malfunctions. This is a problem if your home relies on warmth from an exterior pump! In order for a heat pump to work properly, it first needs to defrost. A heat pump left in the cold for too long without being run may freeze. When this happens, it can fail to thaw out properly when you try and run it. 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. Some heat pumps have an automatic defrost setting that will melt away ice before it can built up. If your system doesn’t have a defrost setting, or if the setting is broken, very thick ice can form. Regularly clear away buildup to prevent this.

In addition, it is worth noting that heat pumps are already plagued by a number of issues. 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. Faulty or Broken Thermostats

On occasion, the problem of ineffective heating doesn’t lie with the heating unit itself. An inaccurate thermostat will lead to inaccurate heating 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. 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 Filters

Nothing lowers efficiency faster than a dirty air filter! If you’re experiencing poor air flow, 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 buildup of dirt, dust, and debris. Replacing your air filter is simple, and you should be able to do this yourself in just a few minutes. Learn more about why it’s so important to change your air filters.

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 air flow 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!