The worst possible time for your heater to stop working is right in the middle of winter. But of course, as luck would have it, that’s often when we get most of our repair calls. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at once, so a portion of our customers has to wait at the bottom of the list. That means they’re waiting in the cold until we can arrive.
We don’t want you to go through that if we can help it—and we’re pretty sure we can! By keeping an eye on your heater, you can prevent most problems from arising in the first place. As soon as you notice one of these efficiency-killers or safety issues, get it handled and you should be able to avoid most big problems.
Dirty Air Filter
Changing the heater’s air filter is crucial for efficient—and continued—performance. A filter overdue for replacement will be full of dust and dirt. The first thing this usually does is restrict airflow. If you’re using a furnace, your heater will need as much oxygen as it can get to combust gas properly. A lack of airflow will make it more difficult to combust fuel.
Even worse is that it can invite the risk of flame rollout—when flames literally “rollout” of the furnace to try and capture more air. It’s as dangerous as it sounds and could start a fire.
If you’re using a heat pump, you won’t have to worry about flame rollout or any such dangers. However, you should keep an eye (and ear) out for refrigerant leaks.
Refrigerant is a chemical blend that runs like blood through your heat pump. The heat pump can’t transfer heat properly without it. But in the event that a leak is causing refrigerant to spray out of the system, you can expect lowered efficiency at the least. At the worst, a frozen evaporator coil and a damaged compressor.
A bad refrigerant leak is something you’ll be able to hear as a hissing sound. Most of the time, though, refrigerant leaks are very small and hard to detect. Inspect the line for little bubbles, what HVAC experts refer to as “champagne leaks.”
Cracked or Damaged Heat Exchanger
While the heat pump has refrigerant and a compressor, the equally vital component in the furnace would have to be the heat exchanger. Not only is this component crucial to your furnace’s operation, but if you’re using a gas furnace, it can lead to the creation of carbon monoxide.
Heat exchangers will naturally develop cracks over time, but not until it approaches the end of its life. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to have it inspected as part of routine maintenance. Any issues with the heat exchanger will need to be addressed immediately.
Reduced Airflow From Vents
An easy test you can do is to feel the air coming out of the vents. If the airflow seems lower than usual or even cold, that could be a sign that you need an inspection—now rather than in the middle of winter. This problem can come from many sources, so your best bet is to call up a heating repair company in Fort Wayne and have them take a look.