What to Expect When You Need a Heater Repair


Jan 16, 2017

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Living in a winter wonderland feels a little less wonderful when you’re dealing with a broken heater. In fact, it can be downright depressing.

When you need a heater repair, the only solution that’s going to work is calling in a reliable HVAC professional. An experienced pro is going to be able to diagnose the problem quickly and get your heater up and running without delays, hassles or a bunch of stories and excuses.

So what could be wrong? CroppMetcalfe HVAC Service Manager Dave Young says the following heater repair issues are among the most common that he sees in Washington, D.C.-area homes.

Furnace problems

1. Dirty filter

A clogged filter forces your furnace to work harder, which can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. This can actually be a DIY fix, if you’re feeling handy. Check your furnace filter, and replace it if it’s dirty. After replacing the filter, put a reminder on your calendar to change it again in a month or two.

2. Dirty flame sensor

If your home isn’t getting warm enough and the furnace seems to be cycling on and off very quickly, your furnace might have a dirty flame sensor. The flame sensor is meant to detect whether this is actually a fire when the gas valve is open. If the sensor doesn’t detect a flame, it automatically shuts down the unit. Call a professional to inspect and clean your flame sensor.

3. Broken hot surface igniter

Newer HVAC systems use igniters rather than pilot-light systems. The igniter glows until it’s hot enough to light the gas and start the furnace burners. If there’s no glowing or fire, you more than likely have a broken igniter. Contact a professional HVAC technician to make this furnace repair.

Heat pump problems

1. Dirty filter

When a filter is clogged, it blocks airflow to the evaporator coil, which is the part of the heat pump that actually heats the air. If very little air is exiting your vents, check the filter. If it’s dirty, replace the filter and set a reminder to check it again in a month or two.

2. Dirty coils

Dirty coils also can restrict airflow and cause your heat pump to stop working. However, it’s not as easy of a fix as the dirty filter is — for dirty coils, contact a professional HVAC technician for chemical cleaning.

3. Electrical problems

If your heat pump fails to turn on at all, this is likely due to an electrical issue involving the contactor or sequencer. First, make sure the power switch is on. You can also try resetting circuit breakers, but aside from that, any heater repair dealing with electrical issues should be left to a skilled HVAC professional.

Diagnosing heater repair

When you call an HVAC professional from CroppMetcalfe, we arrive on time and troubleshoot your heating system. We then make a diagnosis and talk you through the plan before beginning the heater repair. To make sure you aren’t left out in the cold, consider calling an HVAC technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump before the dead of winter. You will be glad you did.