It’s Finally Winter in SWFL: Try These 6 simple Heater Troubleshooting Tips

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With temperatures dropping into the low-to-mid 40s, there has never been a better time to ensure that your Southwest Florida heater is in good working order. Give these 6 heater troubleshooting tips a try—if you are still not getting heat or your heater is not heating your home efficiently—schedule an appointment with a Certified Comfort Specialist today!

Since heat pumps and electric heaters offer an all-season solution to keeping you comfortable, they are the perfect solution for our Florida climate. They keep us cool in the hot, humid months and warm when the temperatures drop.

If you’ve turned on your unit only to find that it’s not working, give these simple heater troubleshooting tips a try:

  1. Check your thermostat. If your thermostat runs on batteries, make sure your batteries are fresh. Check that your thermostat is set to “HEAT” and that the fan is set to “AUTO”. If your heat is not kicking on, try changing the temperature setting to at least 5° above the room temperature.
  2. Check and replace/clean your air filter. Air filters should be changed regularly. While air filters typically last 90 days, in our unique climate where we run our systems heavily throughout most of the year, it is best to change your filter every 30 days. A dirty, clogged air filter can cause additional stress on your air handler, starving your HVAC system of the air needed to heat or cool your home. This additional strain can also cause overheating which can shut your system off entirely.
  3. Check the circuit breaker. If your thermostat settings are all in order and you have installed clean air filters and are still having an issue, try checking the circuit breaker. Ensure the air handler and heat pump are in the “ON” position. If they have been tripped (are in the “OFF” position), test the breaker by flipping it back and forth. Finally, set it back to the “ON” position and try to turn on the heat again.
  4. Check your vents. First, ensure that your vents are not pointed at your thermostat. A poorly placed thermostat and misaligned ventilation can fool your thermostat into thinking that your home is thoroughly heated. This is of course not the case, it’s simply that your heat is directed to the measurement tool your unit uses to know when to kick on and when to turn off to maintain the setting you input. Next, make sure that all vents and intake vents are clear of obstructions. Blockages can affect airflow quality throughout your home and make it difficult to heat or cool the whole space. Move any furniture or other items away from vents to allow for proper airflow—which equals a well-heated or cooled space.
  5. If your heater is making odd noises. If your unit is running, listen intently to see if there are any suspicious noises that you aren’t used to hearing. A noisy unit can indicate loose components, fans, belts or something as simple as loose blots. If you hear hissing, thumping, popping, squealing, banging, scraping or rumbling, this is an indication that something is going on with your unit. It could be within your indoor unit, outdoor unit or even your ventilation. Before any inspections, make sure to turn your unit “OFF” at the breaker. If you can readily identify a loose connection, tighten it and turn your breaker and unit back on. If the noise is gone, you have done a great job! If not, it is time to call in the professionals.
  6. If your heater smells like it’s burning. This is a very common call we receive and often, the cause is harmless. Since our climate is hot and humid for the majority of the year, our heater doesn’t get much use or consideration until the temperature drops. As Trane states, the top reason for the smell is dust accumulation. While your heater components sit unused over the months, dust can begin to collect on the heating elements and within the ductwork. So, when you crank up the heater this winter, you may have that burnt smell for the first few to 10 minutes.

While you are waiting for the smell to fade from any potential dust accumulation, take a walk throughout your spaces. Is there a room or walkway where the smell is stronger? It could be something trapped inside the ventilation.

If you can identify that area, you might be able to open that vent and see if you can visualize the offending debris. If so, gently try to remove it. If you cannot reach it, your best move is to contact us to come and collect it for you and ensure that is the only cause.

If the smell persists after 10 minutes and you haven’t been able to identify a specific source within your ventilation, immediately turn off your unit and schedule an appointment with a Certified Comfort Specialist or Certified Electrician. It could be electrical wiring or other components that have begun to wear. IMPORTANT: This is not something that should be handled by anyone but a professional, please do not try and fix any component or electrical issues on your own.

These 6 simple heater troubleshooting tips can help you identify the most common heating issues without having to involve a professional. In uncertain circumstances, knowing the results of your troubleshooting can help your Comfort Specialist eliminate the common issues quickly and move on to diagnosing what IS happening more quickly. Our highly trained and knowledgeable technicians have the experience and equipment to make sure you and your home are more comfortable when we leave than you were when we arrived!

Blue Ribbon Maintenance Plan

Joining our plan gives you access to one of the most comprehensive plans in the business! With 65-point inspection checklist, we will not only ensure your equipment gets the regular preventative maintenance and attention it needs, we’ll be providing you with peace of mind that your unit will get the special care it requires! Plus, you’ll have access to great plan benefits!

There are three easy ways to sign up:

  1. You can quickly sign up by filling out our online form with all of the pertinent information (if you are unsure about any of the details we ask about your unit it’s no problem, leave it blank, we will get it when we confirm your appointment or when the technician arrives at your home).
  2. Simply call the office at 239-205-8342 and one of our friendly Certified Comfort Representatives will help you in setting up your account and booking your first appointment.
  3. Using our chat function which can be found on any page of our website. Simply ask to be signed up for our Blue Ribbon Maintenance Plan and a Certified Comfort Representative will be in touch to get you signed up and set up your first appointment.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Certified Heating and Cooling.

Call us at (239) 482-5000!