There are a number of common heating system problems that may occur when we first turn our unit to higher temperatures after months of asking it to pump out cold air. We expect it to hum, take the chill out of the air, and work perfectly. We don’t expect to smell something burning. We don’t expect to see the ambient temperature on the thermostat hover at 50° and have the thermostat stick at 76° at the same time, with no change.
There are many more problems that may require repairs or servicing. If your system has been dormant for several months, it has been gathering dust that collects on the coils and gets caught in the filter. Dust is that “something burning” you may smell when you first turn your system on. Be sure to change the filter and be sure to orient the new filter in the same direction as the arrows on the sides. Beyond filter replacement, call an HVAC professional for a maintenance visit that may include cleaning the coils, checking the limit switch, and making sure the fan works correctly. A good HVAC professional will check the ignition or pilot light, the power to the furnace unit, thermo-coupling issues, and drafts or clogs in the appliance.
That cranky thermostat that just won’t budge could just be a faulty thermostat. This is a task a competent HVAC professional can do quickly and efficiently. If the problem is not the thermostat, then the professional repair person will have to look deeper. Maybe the fan blows like crazy, or maybe it goes on, then off, on, then off, but no heat comes out. That’s called “rapid cycling” and may indicate a problem with the limit switch.
So there’s a theme here. The first time you turn on your furnace, to have it working perfectly, you can change the filter; watch the thermostat; listen to the cycling pattern of the blower; and most important, see how well the furnace heats your home. Your furnace and AC may look like one neat unit, but they are actually two very different mechanisms. Regular maintenance is always a good idea, but when you need repairs and servicing, contact the HVAC professionals at American Air Conditioning and Heating to help with these common heating system problems.