Top 5 Home Heating Problems To Avoid This Winter

Posted On January 3rd, 2019 by Lanz HVAC

Winter is here! With Illinois winters come frigid temperatures in the 20s and 30s, sometimes lower, and usually no small amount of snow. Winter around Champaign County means plenty of time spent indoors in the company of family, some favorite electronic devices and your trusty HVAC heating system.

But how do homeowners know if their home’s heater is really up to to the task? What could be wrong with your HVAC system this winter, and what can be done to prevent being left in the cold? Ignoring the signs of small issues could result in BIG problems later…

Symptoms of an HVAC unit or a heat pump that is NOT up to winter duty include:

  • frequent power-cycling of the furnace unit (turning on and off and on, and so on)
  • noises, such as loud clangs and whistles
  • noticeable loss of heat and uneven distribution of warm air within your home

To make sure our customers are as informed as possible, we have some great tips to share on some of our most frequently seen wintertime HVAC/home-heating problems around Central Illinois, so folks might know better whether their heater can beat the winter weather.

Issue No. 1: Frozen pipes, coils and valves.

When the outside temperature falls below the freezing point of water (32 degrees Fahrenheit at sea-level pressure), your HVAC system’s network of pipes, valves and coils freezes too. When water can’t flow, steam radiators and other hydronic systems fail, and heating stops. Ice can expand and burst pipes. To prevent, drain pipes of all water before the first freezing night, as well as other standard winterizing tasks.

Issue No. 2: Malfunctioning or underperforming heat pump.

If your home relies on an outdoor heat pump, that external apparatus sits exposed to winter’s worst elements. Heavy snow, ice and frost can block coils and bust mechanical parts. Take advantage of the heat pump’s automatic defrosting features, or make sure frost does not accumulate on the unit.

Issue No. 3: Dirty heater filters and restricted airflow.

In winter, people tend to run their heating systems full-blast. Extended usage causes buildup of dust, dirt and debris within vents and air ducts, and on fans and motors. Keep a clean HVAC filter by changing or cleaning it monthly, and don’t forget to have the system’s ductwork professionally cleaned.

Issue No. 4: Broken ignition system and extinguished or insufficient pilot light.

The pilot light is the small gas-powered flame in the center of your heating unit that essentially keeps your heater heating. If for any reason it goes out or weakens - due to a damaged sensor, for example - your home’s HVAC will suddenly put out far less heat.

Issue No. 5: Broken, miscalibrated or faulty thermostat.

Aging electronic circuitry has been known to cause HVAC systems to put out incorrect levels of heat. Loose wiring, rusted connections and other electrical problems should be repaired or replaced for best energy efficiency - as well as temperature certainty.

Special Bonus Pro Tip from the Life-Threatening Category: Carbon monoxide leakages.

To produce heat, many types of heaters make carbon monoxide (CO) as a byproduct. If a heating unit has cracks, rust or other defects, this deadly poisonous yet odorless and tasteless gas could waft undetected by the human nose and be a silent killer.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a rare but tragic occurrence, so keep obstructions from blocking airflow out of kitchens and basements, and always maintain a working CO monitor/detector, preferably on each level of your home.

One of the many amazing benefits of modern first-world living is air-conditioning technology that literally keeps people comfy and warm against the bracing harsh chill of a Midwestern winter. Make sure your HVAC system is up to snuff with a little homeowner care and regular checkups by our expert techs.

Before HVAC problems happen in your home this winter (or when they do) - call Lanz Heating & Cooling Inc. - a proud Illinois company serving Champaign, Piatt, Ford, Vermilion, Douglas, Iroquois and McLean counties - at 217-355-5512 or 1-800-AIR-REPAIR.

About Lanz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing: Founded by HVAC contracting veteran Troy Lanz of Illinois, in 2002, Lanz Inc. has grown in number of employees and in services offered to the homeowners and commercial businesses of Champaign County, Il. Lanz Inc. now employs more than 50 highly qualified professionals providing certified installations, repairs and maintenance of heating and cooling systems, heat pumps, air handlers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, indoor air quality control systems, ductless split systems and geothermal solutions, plus cleaning of drains, vents and air ducts. Ask about our Comfort Club. Please call Lanz Inc. at 1-800-AIR-REPAIR or 217-355-5512 and connect with Lanz Inc. on the web at

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