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3 Heating Problems You Can Expect This Winter

As temperatures in the Valley drop, you may find yourself running into some problems with your heating system.

And, as an Arizonan who rarely uses heat, you may be unfamiliar with some of those problems.

But don’t worry. We’re here to give you a “heads up” on some of the heating problems you might encounter and whether you should be concerned or not.

Have you already run into an issue and need a professional immediately? Call us and we’ll send a tech on over as soon as possible.

1) Weird smells

It’s normal when...

You smell a dusty or burning smell the first few times you turn the heat on for the season. It’s normal because of the dust and dirt that accumulates in the heating system throughout the summer. That dust burns off quickly and the burning smell should disappear after the first few uses.

It’s not normal when...

You smell something like:

  • Rotten eggs or sulphur coming from the furnace. If this happens, have a professional inspect your unit immediately. The smell of unburnt fuel (sometimes described as “rotten eggs” or sulphur) indicates a gas leak and can easily cause an explosion or house fire.
  • Strong mildew or dirty socks smell coming from your heat pump. This smell could indicate a buildup of bacteria on the refrigerant coils. This smell doesn’t necessarily pose any danger but if you want to get rid of the smell have a professional clean or replace the coils.
  • Burning electrical smell. This can mean anything from weak motors to failing capacitors. Depending on the source of the smell, it could lead to an electrical fire or a dead motor. Have a tech take a look and repair or replace the faulty component.

2) Heat pump or furnace blowing cold air

It’s normal when...

Your heat pump’s warm air feels lukewarm. This is normal because heat pumps produce air that’s around 90 to 100 degrees (much cooler than the 125 degree air from a furnace). But some people may describe that air as “cold” because it’s lower than the average body temperature (98 degrees).

If you want warmer air, consider switching to “auxiliary heat” (also called “emergency” or “e-heat”). Auxiliary heat uses “backup” electric resistance heating. Using this mode will increase your utility bills, though, since it draws more energy than a heat pump.

It’s not normal when...

Your heat pump or furnace is blowing cold air and your home isn’t warming up.

For a heat pump, some problems might be a dirty air filter, the fan set to ON or the heat pump can’t extract enough heat from the outdoor air. To troubleshoot this issue, check out our article, “Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air in “Heat Mode”?”

For a furnace, problems might be a dirty air filter, fan set to ON, low fuel, overheating or the pilot light. Need more information? Read our article, “Furnace Blowing Cold Air? Here’s Why…”

3) Loud noises

It’s normal when...

You hear a steady and gentle hum from your heat pump or furnace. The sound is simply the motors and moving parts.

It’s not normal when...

You hear noises like:

  • Clicking (especially at start-up). This generally means a failing capacitor that needs to be replaced.
  • Violent clanking. This is usually a loose part or belt that needs to be repaired.
  • Grinding/squeaking. This indicates an overworked or dying motor.
  • Whistling from your air vents. This means low airflow in your system.

Need help with your furnace or heat pump?

If you notice any weird signs once you turn on your heat, just give us a call. We’ll let you know whether it’s normal or not.

If you’re dealing with a problem that’s definitely not normal, just schedule your appointment today.

We’ll send over one of our trusted techs as soon as possible to fix the issue and keep you comfortable this winter.