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Why is The Heat Not Working in my House?

Woman bundled up – why is the heat not working?

With winter right on our heels, our heating systems are about to shake off the dust and kick into overdrive to keep us warm throughout the coldest months of the year. But, unfortunately, the wear and tear of heating up your home will eventually catch up to your heating system. 

There are an abundance of reasons your heat might not work. Getting to the bottom of the problem will depend on what heating system you run on, how old your system is, and a number of other factors.

Let’s dig into some possible reasons why your heat isn’t working.

If Your Heater is Blowing Cold Air... 

This could be as simple as making sure your thermostat is set to the right temperature and mode. Be sure you’re set to “auto” instead of “fan-only”. This could result in your system cycling through cold air without heating it. 

If the thermostat settings aren’t the issue, your next step will be to check your filter. It’s important to change the filter out about every three to six months. If you neglect to change it out when it collects too much dirt and debris, you could compromise the effectiveness of your furnace. This could lead to your system blowing out cold air.

Another reason your system could be blowing out cold air is a lack of adequate fuel. Whether you have a gas or electric heater, it requires a source of energy to keep it running. If you have a furnace be sure it isn’t disconnected to a power supply or low on fuel. 

If fuel isn’t the issue, check to see if your pilot light is on. Igniting it should solve the problem. If you can’t get it lit, make sure the gas valve is turned on. If it is, it might be time to call in professional help

If Your Controls Aren’t Working…

Problems with thermostat control could just be the result of a low battery or bad wiring. Try to replace the batteries and see if the issue persists. If you’re still having trouble, it might be time to reset the thermostat. This process will vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. But, generally, here is what those steps might look like: 

  1. Turn off your thermostat.
  2. Locate the circuit breaker attached to your thermostat. Switch the proper breaker off.
  3. Wait about 30 seconds and switch the breaker back on.
  4. Turn your thermostat back on.
  5. See if the thermostat lets you control it again. 

This is just one way to go about resetting the thermostat. Be sure to consult your user manual to determine what the best way to reset your thermostat is. 

If Your System Is Only Heating Part Of Your Home…

This can be another issue caused by a dirty filter. If you notice certain parts of your home not getting heat, your first step will be to see if your filter needs to be replaced or cleaned. Next, give your ductwork a look. Sometimes, unevenly distributed heat can be the result of improperly installed ducts or air leaks. 

When some contractors install or replace HVAC ducts, they may not do exact measurements and opt to eyeball the size of their materials instead. A lot of the time they can achieve ductwork that does the job but just not as efficiently as possible. This can potentially cause uneven heat distribution.  

Poorly installed vents or simple wear and tear can lead to an air leak in your ducts. To check for a leak, head to your basement, attic, or crawl space and follow these steps: 

  • First, turn your air up to make it easier to locate a potential leak. 
  • Visually inspect the ductwork for any cracks or fissures. 
  • Check the duct joints where two ducts meet. Leaks commonly develop in these spots.
  • Use a lit incense stick or smoke pencil to detect air movement. This is a great tool to help you find smaller leaks. Walk along the ducts and further examine any spots you notice the smoke swirling in an unusual manner.

If Your Heat Won’t Shut Off…

Check to see what mode your thermostat is set to. Be sure it’s on “auto” and not “on”. This setting will assure your system will turn off when your home reaches the proper temperature. 

If it is set to the right mode, you might have an issue with the thermostat wiring. Normally, you can pop open the cover to find the wiring. Check to see if everything looks to be plugged in and the wires are screwed into the correct terminals. If the wiring is correct, you might need to replace the thermostat. 

If you adequately troubleshoot the thermostat and your heat still won’t shut off, there might be an issue with the furnace blower. This can be the result of a cracked motor or frayed belt. Usually, issues with the furnace blower will be fairly complicated to fix.

To prevent these issues from occurring, contact your local HVAC company and ask about annual maintenance plans.

Call in WM Buffington 

If you do everything within your power to fix your heating and find that you need some backup, WM Buffington has your back. We offer a no-obligation estimate for complete system replacements and home energy audits. We’re ready to tackle any and all of your HVAC issues.

Don’t Forget Maintenance!

A lot of issues that arise with heating systems are preventable. At a minimum, you should have a professional look at your HVAC system at least once a year. This is another service WM Buffington is proud to offer. 

You can even sign up for our Planned Maintenance Program to stay on top of any issues that arise with your system before they can catch you by surprise. You can sign up for either a one-time or two-time yearly visit.

Get in touch for a free estimate!

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