Most Common Heating Problems and How to Fix Them

heating problems

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As the winter draws near, many of us are switching on the heating system to keep us warm and comfortable. Anyone can experience heating problems at the most inconvenient times. So, you’ll be surprised if your heater breaks down. What’s causing your heating system to malfunction?

Your home heating system doesn’t have to be complicated to operate efficiently and keep you warm. In this article, we’ll discuss the potential causes of heating problems, and we’ll share a few tips on how to prevent them.

Potential Causes of Heating Problems

Whether you enjoy the cold or not, you must take the required precautions to ensure that your heater is in good working condition to stay warm. When minor issues like a loose screw and a filthy filter come, they can be addressed with proper heater maintenance.

Here are a few possible reasons why your heater is not working properly.

Thermostat problems

One reason your heater could not be working could be that the signal your thermostat is sending to the furnace isn’t getting through. The malfunction could be caused by a variety of issues, from something as straightforward as dead batteries to something more significant, like a malfunctioning thermostat that needs to be replaced.

Lack of maintenance

It’s likely that a dirty heating system is the cause of your heater’s malfunction. Having dirt on your blower motor or flame sensor could possibly render your furnace unable to operate. The flame could not get through all the corrosion and dirt, so the sensor would immediately turn off the furnace if it could not detect the fire.

Clogged air filter

One of the most frequent issues with heaters is clogged air filters. Your heater most likely has a blocked filter if it isn’t able to blast hot air at all or if it can’t blow at all. When debris builds up, the system experiences less airflow, which causes your heating system to shut off.

7 Common Heating Problems and How to Troubleshoot Them

The heating system that keeps your home warm will become even more crucial as the cold sets outside during winter months. Maintaining safety and comfort requires reliable heat pumps, furnaces, and thermostats, but even the best systems can have problems. So, here are ways to troubleshoot heating problems.

Check your thermostat

Before presuming the heater is the issue, it’s worth checking that your thermostat is adjusted appropriately. Selecting the right temperature will activate the heater. Give it a minute for the fan and heat to turn on after you’ve adjusted to the proper temperature. If it doesn’t turn on, lower the thermostat temp down to prevent it from turning on and off as you attempt to troubleshoot. Or, it could be necessary to change the battery.

Change the filter

One of the main reasons for furnace issues and a potential source of high operating expenses is dirty and clogged filters. Filters that are blocked with dust and dirt might cause the heat exchanger to overheat and quickly shut off. Additionally, this leads to a buildup of soot on the heat exchanger, which reduces the efficiency of your heater.

If the blower is operating but no heat is being released, the next action is to change the filter. To find out where the filter is and how to remove it, consult your product’s manual.

Make sure the gas is on

Just like the thermostat, it’s simple for the gas valve to be accidentally switched off and forgotten. Follow the gas line from the heater through to the meter to verify this. In case the handle is oriented differently from the gas pipe, rotate it until it becomes parallel.

Most older boilers and heaters include pilot lights. Take off the burner lid and front panel to see if the pilot light is lighted and if yours has one.

Clear the chimney exhaust flue

Sometimes leaves and birds fall into the chimney exhaust flue. After turning off the heating system and the thermostat completely, disassemble the duct where it leaves the furnace and look for any debris. Make sure the components are put back together in the same direction and in the order that you removed them.

Clean the air vents

Exhaust vents are prone to leaves or other debris, which can obstruct the intake or exhaust if your furnace vents out the side of the house. If there is screen mesh covering the pipes, replace it with hardware-grade cloth with a half-inch screen. If one of the pipes is clogged with ice, you might have a more serious issue. Break the ice, give us a call, and we’ll assist you in determining the cause of that.

Clear the drain pipes

Your heating system can remove many gallons of water each day throughout the heating season. If there is a buildup of silt or mold in the drain lines, the heater will shut off.

Unplug the drain hose and fill it with a bleach and water solution if you determine it is unclean. Flush it out after allowing it to sit for a few minutes.

Search for leaky or blocked ductwork

Make sure all of the room registers are open if your furnace turns on but only heats one or two rooms. Next, check for openings between portions and branching points in any ductwork you can reach. Use specialized metal duct tape to seal any spaces that exist between duct pieces.

How to Prevent Heating Problems

Common heating problems feel less terrifying once you know how to identify them and what measures to follow for troubleshooting. By recognizing when to get help, you can minimize discomfort at home and save time and money. 

Regular Maintenance

Ensure that the HVAC system and heating system are properly maintained. Cleaning the coils on your heater is one way to maintain it. Use a hose or compressed air to clear away dirt, leaves, and other debris.

Verify that the drain pans are clear of obstructions. Your system may overheat and sustain irreversible damage.

Identify Warning Signals

An increased cost of heating is one of the telltale symptoms that you have problems with your HVAC unit. A broken heater can cause more than just increased heating expenses; it can also result in mold growth and water damage, among other problems. The display on the thermostat flickers on and off. You can hardly feel much air coming from the vents. There are smells like burning. Or if you hear strange noise or buzz coming from the fan.

An experienced HVAC professional must come to your furnace right away if the vents are blowing out too much air or if you smell gas.

Don’t Overuse Your Heating System

Overworking a system can be one of the most frequent causes of it ceasing to heat. Avoid turning up the thermostat more than is necessary since this can harm the system. To prevent excessive use of your heating system, make sure you wear proper attire indoors and have cozy, warm bedding.

Heating Problems FAQs

What are the most common heating problems?

Leaky ducts, improper thermostats, lack of circulation, dirty filters, and inconsistent maintenance are a few of the most typical heating issues.

Why is my heater blowing cold air?

Your heater could be spewing cold air for a number of causes, such as a filthy air filter, a broken thermostat, or a defective pilot light.

How can I fix my heater if it stops working? 

The thermostat and the circuit breaker should be checked first if your heater breaks down. It is advisable to get in touch with a reputable repair service if none of these are the problems.

How often should I have my heating system serviced?

To make sure your heating system is operating effectively and safely, it is advised to get it serviced at least once a year.


Not only can keeping up with heater repair and maintenance keep you and your family warm this winter, but it can also increase efficiency and save expensive repairs down the road. To enjoy the winter without having to deal with heating problems, simply contact us. We are ready to service and handle any heating problems you may have.

Alsup’s Heating and Cooling is your expert on indoor comfort systems for your home or business. Our local-owned company specializes in the installation, maintenance and repair of all makes and models of HVAC equipment.
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