Troubleshooting Common Heating System Problems

Heating problems can spring up from anywhere. Unfortunately, your heater could go on the fritz on a cold winter day. Basic troubleshooting of your system could possibly get it back up and running. Here are some common scenarios and possible solutions. 

Iced Heat Pump

A heat pump with some ice on it is normal. However, if your heat pump is completely encased in ice, this is a sign that there is a more serious problem. An iced heat pump could cause damage to the fan blades and outdoor coils. As a result, refrigerant can start to leak out of the system and destroy the compressor.  

One of the most important things to do is to turn off the heating unit first. Check the condenser outside for signs that debris, such as leaves, is clogging it up. If there is buildup, wait for the unit to defrost and then remove it. If it has been raining, it is possible that the rain caused the condenser to freeze over, too. Place a condenser cover over the unit to help protect it from the rain going forward. 

Another possible cause is water dripping from the gutter and freezing due to the chilly temperatures. Keeping your gutters clean so that the water freely flows to the correct drop-off points will prevent this problem in the future. 

Blowing Cold Air

If your heat system stops blowing hot air when the heater is switched on and is instead blowing cold air, there are a few different reasons this could happen. For instance, if it is snowing outside, the snow against the outdoor unit can cause cold air to be blown through your home. A condenser cover can also help in this situation.

It is also possible that the compressor has turned off and is not operating. Check the outdoor switch for the compressor, which should be right above the unit in a covered box. If the compressor switches back off, the problem could be a bad circuit breaker. Unless you have experience with replacing breakers, it is best to call a professional. A breaker that continues to switch off when the heating is running is usually an indication of a wiring problem. 

Regular maintenance of your heating system can help detect many problems before they impact your system's ability to properly function. Talk to a heating professional such as RA Styron Heating and Air Conditioning to create scheduled maintenance checks throughout the year and to learn other ways you can keep your system running properly between visits.