Why Can’t Your Furnace Keep Up on the Coldest Days?

18 Jan

Does your house stay chilly on the coldest of winter days? Maybe you keep setting the thermostat higher and higher, but it seems like your furnace just can’t keep up. You don’t deserve to keep shivering the days away. Here’s a look at some common causes of inadequate heating and how to solve them.

Lack of Insulationwhy-cant-your-furnace-keep-up-on-the-coldest-days

The problem may not be with your heating system itself, but rather with the insulation that’s intended to trap heat inside your home. If your home is not well insulated, heat may be escaping faster than your furnace can replace it. The Department of Energy recommends 10 to 14 inches of attic insulation for most homes. If you have less insulation than this, consider adding an additional layer of insulation.

It you live in an older home, there may be little to no insulation between your interior and exterior walls. Having loose insulation blown into the wall spaces will make it a lot easier for your furnace to keep up.

Old, leaky windows are another common source of heat loss. Glass itself is a very poor insulator, so if you have old, single-pane windows, upgrading to double-pane windows will help keep your home warmer. The layer of air between the two panes of glass acts as an insulator.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

Especially if your thermostat is older, it may no longer be registering the temperature accurately. For instance, it may be registering the room temperature as 72 and failing to trigger the furnace—even though it’s really only 62 in your home. If your furnace does not seem to be kicking on often enough considering the low outdoor temperature, your thermostat is likely to blame.

The best solution in this case is usually to have the thermostat replaced. This is an inexpensive task that your HVAC technician can complete in just an hour or two.

Leaky or Blocked Ducts

Are certain rooms colder than others? The next time the heat kicks on, place your hand in front of the vents in those rooms. If you don’t feel a strong flow of air, the duct is probably blocked. Such a blockage can keep the warm air from circulating properly through your home. 

Oftentimes, blockages are caused by debris from remodeling projects, vermin, or pieces of old air filters. Your HVAC technician can remove the offending items and restore your system to working order.

It’s also possible that your ducts have become leaky over time. Some of the warm air may be seeping out from between the seams before it has a chance to reach your rooms. A professional can seal your ducts, which will make it easier for your heating system to keep up on chilly days.

Undersized Furnace

When your HVAC company installed your furnace, they should have carefully evaluated your home’s size, its layout, its insulation level, and the local climate before choosing an appropriately sized furnace. Sadly, some companies rush this process and may unintentionally recommend a furnace that’s not powerful enough to heat your home on the coldest winter days.

If your HVAC technician comes out to investigate the cause of your inadequate heating and finds that your ducts, insulation, and thermostat are all sufficient, the next thing he or she may recommend is upgrading to a more powerful furnace.

If your home is feeling overly chilly when the temperature drops, don’t hesitate to contact an HVAC company in your area. There’s a good chance that upgrading your insulation, installing a new thermostat, or making some adjustments to your duct work will make your home much more comfortable.

Even if you need to invest a new furnace, your HVAC professional can help you choose a unit that will keep you warm this winter—and for many winters to come.