10 Heating Dilemmas and How to Solve Them This Winter

Winter’s chill is at your door. You get rugged up every time you leave the house but, let’s be honest, you’d rather stay home. It’s precisely the time of the year when you notice the faults in your home heating that you just don’t think about in warmer months.

Those cold areas in the home, strange noises coming from the vents, that odd smell, low airflow which just isn’t heating the room – you know that frosty feeling of inadequate heating. It’s never too late to fix the failures in your heating setup, whatever kind of system you’re running. You can troubleshoot some of these remedies yourself, but be aware that sometimes you’ll need professional assistance.

So here are 10 heating dilemmas that many people face at home during winter months, and some easy solutions to help before the freeze sets in.

1. Blocking Out the Sun

There’s nothing hi-tech about this solution. During winter we tend to close the home up when we should be opening the blinds and letting the sun’s rays stream in. Some solar power can give your heating system a little help when it needs it. Just remember to shut the blinds when it gets dark, which helps to insulate the room.

2. Some Areas Aren’t Being Heated

If you have a ducted system and your home isn’t being heated consistently throughout, you could have a number of problems. It might be due to a dirty air filter, leaky ducts or issues with your system’s fan motor, bearings or more. A dirty or blocked air filter also applies to reverse cycle air conditioning. Replacing or cleaning an air filter is an easy fix, but a faulty motor or ductwork will require a trained technician.

3. Cool Air is Coming from Vents

There could be technical issues if your ducted system is giving you cool air when you want warm, but there are some quick fixes to try before calling a professional. Check the thermostat to ensure that it’s set at the right temperature. Check to see if the air filter needs cleaning or replacement. If you’re using gas, make sure the pilot light is lit and is staying on.

4. Thermostat Controls Aren’t Working

If you’re having difficulty setting the temperature, your thermostat could be the problem. For a start, the thermostat should be set to ‘auto’ rather than ‘on’. The issue could also be caused by a tripped circuit breaker. But if it comes to faulty wiring, call a professional.

You can change the ceiling fan direction in winter to push warm air downwards.

5. What’s That Burning Smell?

When you first turn on the heat there might be a burning smell caused by dust and dirt being burned away. Once again, a dirty air filter could be the cause, so cleaning the filter could be a simple remedy. If the burning odour continues it could be a more serious problem that will require a heating and cooling specialist.

6. How Can I Minimise Heating Costs?

No matter what kind of system you have, there are ways to maximise the heat at your disposal. Ceiling and wall insulation can be an enormous benefit in keeping the warmth inside the home (and keeping it out during summer). Ceiling fans can help in spreading heat, but make sure the blade rotation is reversed to push the warm air down to you. Rugs on cold tiled or wooden floors also add to warmth.

7. Mould in Your Heating System

Moisture buildup in your home’s heating system can be an issue, possibly due to substandard insulation or faulty ductwork. This can cause mould to grow in your heating system. The best remedy is to have a trained technician thoroughly clean your system. Your ducts may have to be insulated and sealed to ensure moisture doesn’t build up in the future.

8. Portable Heaters Aren’t Doing the Trick

A portable heater can be an economical alternative if you’re in a smaller space, such as an apartment, but could be inadequate if you’re trying to heat a bigger area or multiple rooms. If you need an upgrade, a split system (or reverse cycle) could be the solution. A ducted system gives you greater climate control in every room, but does it suit your home? Are you using gas or electricity? Do you have solar? Consider the space, how many rooms you want to heat, and how many people are in the home. Then speak to a professional.

9. Heating System Won’t Turn Off

If the heating system continues to blow hot air when you don’t want it to, check that it’s set to ‘auto’ rather than ‘on’. When it’s set to ‘auto’, it will turn off when it reaches the set temperature. If it continues to run, your thermostat could be wired incorrectly or there could be an issue with the system’s fan or blower. For the issues that are more technical, call a professional for help.

10. The Bathroom is Freezing

There’s nothing like a hot shower to start the morning, but first you’re likely to be stepping into a freezing bathroom. But it doesn’t have to be. You can install a bathroom heater with lights and an exhaust fan. If you want to go a few extra steps, under-tile heating and wall-mounted heated towel racks are fancy options. Check that windows are properly sealed. Make sure you’ve got a dry bath mat to stand on and always use dry towels, not the damp ones you used last night.

While some heating problems are unavoidable, most are caused by a lack of maintenance. That’s why the heating and cooling specialists at Upside Down recommend annual servicing on HVAC systems, which will catch the problems before they develop and also extend the lifespan of your setup.

Last Edited on: 20th June 2022