Common Heating Issues and How to Deal With Them

We rely on our heating systems to keep out the cold no matter what the weather might be doing, and when it’s not doing its job properly things can get very uncomfortable. Some common heating issues have relatively simple solutions, while others will require professional furnace repair.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what tends to go wrong with your heating, why you might not be getting the warmth that you need, and what you can do about it.

Common Heating Issues

1. Clogged Filters

One of the most common reasons why your heating system might not be running as efficiently as normal is that the filters have become blocked over time. This isn’t a flaw or a failure, it’s the filter’s job to collect dust, dirt, and other particles to prevent them from blocking the whole system.

When too much debris has been collected by the filter, however, then it will become more difficult for air to travel through. This will mean that your furnace needs to work extra hard to maintain airflow and it can even result in damage to internal components.

How To Deal With It:

This problem has an easy solution. All you need to do is replace the air filter, and make sure you are continuing to replace it on a regular basis to prevent further problems.

If you find that your filters are becoming dirty very quickly, then there may be an excess of indoor pollution in your home. Dander from pets, fumes from cooking, certain cleaning products, high humidity, and cigarette smoke can all lead to more particles traveling through the system.

2. Ignition or Pilot Light Failure

If your heating system doesn’t appear to be switching on when it should be, it could well be a problem with the ignition. Depending on the type of furnace that you have, it might be using an electronic ignition or a pilot light, and each can suffer from a number of different malfunctions.

An electronic ignition may have gathered carbon deposits over time or become damaged through general wear and tear. Older furnaces might use a pilot light and these could develop faults or be blown out by draughts.

How To Deal With It:

First, you will want to check what kind of ignition you are dealing with. If it is an electronic ignition, you can have a look to see if it is damaged or needs cleaning, and if it is a pilot light you can check to see if a draught is blowing the flame out. If complicated components require fixing or replacing, then you should call in a professional.

3. Thermostat Issues

A number of different problems that you might be facing with your heating often boil down to problems with the thermostat itself, rather than the overall system. They can be a little tricky to set up correctly and might have other issues besides.

How To Deal With It:

Take a look at the settings before you do anything else to make sure that everything is as you want it to be. Also, read over the manual again so that you know exactly what you are looking at. The issue could be as simple as the HEAT setting not being switched on, the timings needing to be reprogrammed, or the time and date needing to be reset.

Alternatively, if the thermostat is not receiving any power, then your heating system won’t be able to turn on or off at all. Check the display to see if the thermostat is powered up, have a look at the electrical connections, and potentially replace any batteries as well.

4. Reduced Airflow

If you are not getting the right amount of heat in every room of your house, then there may be issues with how easily the air is able to flow throughout the system. While a clogged filter can be responsible for this, there are other things that can also restrict the movement of hot air.

It could be just closed or partially covered vents in certain rooms of the house, or you may have blockages or leaks in the ductwork itself. A typical duct system actually loses between 25% and 40% of its heating or cooling, and a large part of this is through leaks.

How To Deal With It:

Opening vents might be a very easy solution, but issues with the ducts are more challenging to solve. You might need to have a full professional inspection and cleaning carried out, and damages or leaks will need to be repaired.

5. Failing Heat Pump

Many heating systems use a heat pump as the key component for generating heat throughout your home. This is done by transferring the thermal energy from a cool space to a warm space through a refrigeration cycle, making the cool area warmer and the warm area cooler.

These pumps can fail or become faulty for many reasons, often as a result of being run too often. Components may be damaged, the refrigerant lines might develop leaks, or the outside temperature may be too cold for the pump to work efficiently.

How To Deal With It:

First, you should check the pump to see if there is any visible blockage or damage. It might even have iced over in particularly bad weather. More often than not, however, a faulty heat pump should be seen by a professional.

It may need to be repaired, but the fault itself could well be a sign that something else is wrong inside your system. The airflow may be too restricted, the refrigerant lines might need replacing, or there may be issues with your valves.


Some of the most common causes of problems with a heating system are related to the air filters or airflow, the ignition, the thermostat, or the heat pump. Replacing your air filters or adjusting your thermostat settings might be a quick job, but not every problem can be solved so easily.

At the end of the day, it’s always safest to opt for a professional furnace repair service if you are at all unsure of what to do.

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