Why Won’t Your Heater Turn On? These Are the Most Common Reasons
Winter is almost here! Is your heater going to be up for the job of keeping you warm throughout the cold months?
Unsurprisingly, more people call for heating repair in New Jersey during the winter than at any other time of year. Sometimes this is due to genuine breakdowns within their heating systems, but other times it’s due to relatively simple – even preventable – issues. Knowing how your heating system works, and which aspects of it are most prone to failure, can help you keep the heat on in the winter.
With years of experience providing top-quality heating repair to NJ residents, we know a lot about the ins and outs of maintaining your home’s heat. So, let’s look at some of the most common reasons that a heater breaks down, or stops functioning.
The Six Most Common Reasons Your NJ Heater Isn’t Working Properly
1. Lack of basic cleaning and maintenance
Sad to say, but many of the most common reasons we’re called out for NJ heater repair are avoidable. Like all the appliances and systems in your house, heaters require some basic cleaning. Skipping that maintenance will lead to failures far more often than any other reason.
Dirty air filters.
The filters in your heater must be periodically cleaned or replaced, otherwise, they’ll become clogged and prevent air from flowing properly through the system. This is something you can do yourself, and it will go a long way towards protecting your heater.
Dirty air blower.
The air blower inside your heater is vital because it ensures cool air is constantly passing over the heat exchanger. If the blower is dirty, it’ll stop sending enough air through the system to keep the heat going.
Dirty flame sensor.
Without a properly functioning flame sensor, your heater won’t know when to turn the fire on to increase the heat output. Heaters that aren’t cleaned internally often see a thick buildup of gunk on this sensor, which will cause the heater to cease doing anything useful.
Often, the best idea is simply to call in experienced New Jersey heating repair experts to clean out your heater once a year. Before winter is the perfect time to do it! While cleaning the system, they’ll also be able to check for any other problems that might cause your heat to fail and recommend solutions. Then your heater will, most likely, perform fine throughout the rest of the year.
Now, let’s look at some of the less common causes of heater failure.
2. Dead blower capacitor
If you’ve noticed a large box hooked up to your heater which looks a lot like a battery, that’s the blower capacitor. And it also acts much like a battery! The capacitor is what provides the power necessary to get your heater’s blower up to speed when it’s time to start heating your house. If that capacitor isn’t properly holding onto a charge, or is only letting a trickle of electricity through, the motor either won’t engage at all or will only run at low speeds.
Most of the time, the only solution here is simply to replace the capacity. The good news is that this is a relatively easy and straightforward fix, so you won’t be without heat for very long.
3. Draft inducer failure
The draft inducer also called an inducer draft motor, is a relatively small, motorized component that clears and vents any gases remaining in the heat exchanger after a heating cycle. Allowing those gases to build up will interfere with the proper function of the heat exchanger, so venting them is a must.
However, the draft inducer tends to pull high amps, which causes it to be a bit more prone to failure than some other components. Like other elements in the system, it can also fail if it gets dirty. Either way, if it isn’t functioning properly, that will trip off the safeties and cause the heater to stop running.
There’s no fixing a draft inducer. If it goes bad, it will have to be replaced by a New Jersey heater repair crew.
4. Cracked heat exchanger
One of the most genuinely dangerous problems your heater can develop is a cracked heat exchanger – which often happens as a result of dirty components and other maintenance failures. If the exchanger is cracked, it will reduce the efficiency of the system, at the least. The more cracked the exchanger is, the worse its performance will be.
However, there’s a much bigger problem here. Your heat exchanger generates carbon monoxide, which builds up within it. If the exchanger is cracked, that carbon monoxide will leak out into your house. Carbon monoxide is, of course, toxic in high quantities and poses a real danger to people nearby.
If you suspect your heat exchanger is cracked, call for heating repair in New Jersey immediately. It could be leaking poison into your home.
Finally, let’s look at a couple of cases where it’s not the heater itself that’s at fault for heating problems.
5. Too much gas flow
Here’s a problem that isn’t directly associated with a mechanical breakdown. Every heating system has a certain capacity for gas, and “expects” a fairly narrow range of gas flow. Too little gas will cause the system to under-perform, but many people don’t realize that too much gas is also a problem!
Basically, too much gas within your heater will cause it to become hotter than it’s supposed to be. If it becomes hot beyond its safe limits, that will trip the safeties and cause the system to shut down. This is particularly likely to happen on very cold days when the heater is having to work near max capacity in the first place.
Fortunately, a repair technician should be able to quickly tweak the gas flow to bring everything back into the green.
6. Ductwork issues
Sometimes the problem isn’t in the heater at all, it’s in your ductwork. Your ducts are necessary to spread hot air from the heater to the rest of the house. If the ducts are dirty, clogged, damaged, or misaligned, that will prevent the warm air from going everywhere it needs to be.
In general, it’s a good idea to have your ducts professionally cleaned every three years or so. This will also have several side benefits! You’ll see more efficient heating and cooling, and cleaning will prevent the ducts from spewing dirt and debris into your living areas.
Duct cleaning is inexpensive and will easily pay for itself in terms of improved temperature regulation.
Air Temp Are Your Trusted NJ Heating Repair Experts!
We have a long history of providing top-quality HVAC service, installation, and repair across New Jersey. With a harsh winter expected, don’t wait for something to go wrong. Give us a call today for a heater cleaning and checkup which will ensure you stay warm all winter.