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7 Common HVAC Problems During Winter


HVAC problems seem to multiply when the winter season arrives. If it feels this way at your home, take comfort in the knowledge that we get more calls in the winter at Suburban HVAC than at any time of year. As the temperature drops and the demands on your system increase, the following are seven of the most common problems you may experience.

Time For a Tune-Up?

1. Frozen Pipes

December, January, and February regularly see freezing temperatures. While daytime temperatures may pop above the freezing point, pipes can quickly freeze over as soon as the sun goes down. Whether gradual or sudden, the temperature change can cause pressure buildup that can burst the pipes wide open.

2. Uneven Airflow

Uneven airflow is caused by blocked ducts and vents. Whether it’s an errant holiday box or a season’s worth of dust bunnies and dog hair, these blockages can cause one room in the home to feel like a walk-in freezer and the one next to it to feel like a sauna.

3. Dirty Air Filters

As with blocked ducts, a dirty air filter can make your home feel chilly and uncomfortable. Air filters should be regularly inspected and changed to facilitate the smooth flow of air into and from your furnace. Moreover, regular filter changes help preserve energy-efficiency and reduce wear and tear on your furnace system.

4. Malfunctioning Thermostat

Thermostats are durable, but they are not indestructible. Over time, wires will come loose, and computer chips will fail, sensors will malfunction, etc. This can negatively impact the unit’s calibration and limit the thermostat’s ability to control your home temperature effectively.

5. Flickering Pilot Lights

Pilot lights can flicker and fail for two primary reasons. Drafts are the leading cause of pilot lights that flicker and go out. Ensure the vent cover is attached correctly and that any drafts in the furnace room are sealed can stop drafts from putting a chill over your winter’s night. Similarly, clogged or damaged flame sensors can cause a pilot light to go out. When the flame sensor is dirty or damaged, we recommend prompt cleaning and/or replacement.

6. Damaged Heat Pumps or Furnaces

Heat pumps and furnaces require regular maintenance to ensure all components are properly functioning. When maintenance is neglected, problems are magnified. Heat pumps and furnaces can leak, belts can break, heat exchangers can crack, and moreover, during the winter months. Performing maintenance in the spring and at the beginning of fall is the best way to ensure small problems are identified before they can cause a mid-winter breakdown.

7. CO Leaks

Carbon monoxide is a toxic, deadly gas that results from the incomplete combustion of natural gas. If you have a natural gas furnace or other appliance, you must equip your home with CO detectors. Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide is odorless. This means it can seep through the home without any warning. When you have a cracked heat exchanger, flickering pilot light, blocked chimney, or loose pipes, your safety depends on promptly correcting these heating maintenance issues.

We encourage you to contact Suburban HVAC at 781-769-1515 with your winter HVAC maintenance questions. It is our pleasure to give you the answers you need and to tell you more about the winter HVAC maintenance and HVAC repair services we provide our clients in Massachusetts.


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