How to Tell if Your Heating System Is Overworked

Stuart Henderson

At this time of year, it’s expected that your heating system is going to be used a lot more. As we head firmly into the winter months, and the United States grows colder, it’s vital that we are kept warm within our own homes. As well as for showers, cooking, and cleaning, hot water is essential to keep the entire home warm. The circulation of hot water through central heating systems is the best way to be comfortable in our homes during the colder time of the year, so it is very important that your furnace or heating equipment is operating at peak performance. Any drop in efficiency and you’ll start to see breakdowns in a whole host of other appliances designed to keep you warm in the cold, particularly in the overall HVAC system (heating ventilation and air conditioning system.)

The HVAC Relationship

That relationship between your boiler and other HVAC system units is symbiotic. If a problem arises with the ventilation or the AC system, then this will also have consequences for the longevity of your heating too. Many common problems can be avoided with preventive maintenance, but often this is put off until it is too late, leading to an expensive repair that still wouldn’t fix the issues that will come up in the future.

In addition, problems with the HVAC systems in the general lead not only to costly repairs but can weigh on your wallet on a regular basis, too. If a heating system is struggling to keep the house warm, then it is using more energy to compensate. This will decimate your energy savings, and you will end up paying far more for electricity and gas than you were before. Your water heater may cost a little bit of money to begin the process of heating up the water when you are in the bathroom filling the tub. But if you still don’t have hot water, long after you gave up on the tub and left the bathroom, then that is going to cost you money in a big way.

Check Your Pipework For a Clog

If you’ve had the water heater switched on for a while, and you’re still only getting lukewarm water, then there is clearly an issue between the boiler and the faucet. Obviously, that doesn’t narrow it down too much, but it will explain why the heating system has been running so much to so little effect. In all likelihood, there is a leak somewhere along with the plumbing system. It can be something obvious like a leaky faucet that simply needs its screws tightening, in which case a handy set of pliers will do the job. Or, there is a bigger problem a little more out of sight. Follow the pipes—if it takes a long time to get hot water from a tap and the furnace is working in overdrive, start at the boiler and check all of the pipes that lead from there. It could be a small leak from a radiator, but if it’s left long enough it will also become a big mildew problem, leading to rot in the surrounding carpet and flooring.

Whilst water heaters are a fundamental part of the household, they are not the only part of the HVAC system that must receive regular maintenance. It is absolutely necessary to keep all cooling and heating equipment operating at peak performance. Heating equipment working in overdrive could be a result of bad insulation, and an issue with the ventilation. Check around the home for any cool spots and make sure that all of the vents are not blocked by furniture or other debris. If there is still a cool draft, then look to the seals around the windows and doors. Luckily, this isn’t an emergency, as applying some sealant should fix the problem, albeit temporarily until a technician can take a look.

Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioning units, particularly those with heat pumps designed to warm the air, must be checked as often as possible. The presence of moisture in the air reacts with the heat, creating humidity. If that has been the case, the indoor air quality drops significantly and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and airborne illnesses. In addition to the mold that infests the surfaces as a result, the health implications are substantial. It is imperative that humidity is kept under 60% in the home to avoid respiratory health concerns. Again, if the air conditioner is not working correctly, and not cleaning and removing the moisture from the air, then the heating system will be working in overdrive to compensate. This is because the heating will not just be warming the air, but also warming the water in the air which takes longer and more energy.

Common household repairs, like removing debris from gutters to prevent them from overflowing into the house and thus causing a leak, which then leads to moisture in the air, are seemingly tiny details. But they not only keep the indoor environment free from problems. Simple foundation repair jobs guarantee that your heating and cooling equipment can continue running at the right pace, saving your money and good health.