Sometimes the ongoing strain of winter can lead to problems as your heating equipment struggles to keep your Long Island home warm and your family comfortable. Here are some heating issues you’re may encounter, and what to do to solve them:
Over-dry air – Air that doesn’t contain a healthy amount of moisture (35-50 percent humidity during the winter months) can be uncomfortable, especially for people with respiratory issues; it can also damage furniture, artwork, and even expensive electronics. A forced air system (a heating system with vents and a furnace rather than baseboards or radiators and a boiler) that isn’t functioning properly could produce air that is dryer than normal, especially during the winter when air is already naturally dryer. To fix a dry air problem, service your HVAC equipment, and consider adding a whole-house humidifier to your system.
Cycling – If you notice your heating system turning on and off (cycling) more than usual, it could indicate one of several problems – two of the most common ones are a dirty air filter or a faulty thermostat. Check both, changing the filter and swapping out the thermostat if needed. If cycling continues, contact us for service.
Carbon monoxide leaks – A carbon monoxide (CO) leak is a serious issue: CO is colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly. CO leaks are most common in heating systems that are 10 to 15 years old, so if your equipment is into its second decade, it is important to have it serviced every year. It is also critical to install carbon monoxide detectors at every level of your house and test them periodically, replacing batteries at least once per year.
Inconsistent heat – Hot and cold spots in your home can have two sources: your heating system or the house itself (it’s often both). Simple measures like replacing caulking and weather stripping and adding door sweeps will help reduce drafts, as will adding insulation to walls and floors between conditioned and unconditioned spaces. If these measures don’t do the trick, you could have an issue with a clogged filter, dirty vents, or dirty/damaged coils. As a first step, check the filter and get your heating system cleaned (a cleaning should be included in your annual heating service).
No heat – If your furnace or boiler won’t start at all, please take these six steps before you call for service – it could save you the cost of a service call:
Make sure all power switches are in the “on” or “start” position, and that your circuit breaker has not been tripped
Make sure the temperature on your thermostat is set at least five degrees above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO.
Check the pilot light, if your equipment has one.
If you have a forced (or warm) air system (a furnace with ductwork), check the air filter if airflow from your vent seems low; also make sure that vents are not blocked.
If you have an oil-fired system, reset the red burner switch once; doing it more than once may flood your system with oil.