One of the perks of living in Florida is its warm climate. As a matter of fact, Florida has the mildest winter in the United States. The Tampa Bay area enjoys average winter highs of 71 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows of 52 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although these temperatures seem mild, they can still be cool enough to affect your HVAC system. Here are several of the issues you may encounter this winter.
Vents that are cold, dark and damp are the perfect breeding ground for mold. This is compounded by humidity, which is still present during Florida’s cooler months.
Do your vents smell musty when you turn on the heater? It could indicate a mold issue. We recommend using IAQ products such as the REME HALO® to alleviate those smells. The REME HALO® provides whole home and building purification and helps prevent mold spores from adversely affecting your health.
2. Frost or Ice on Your Pump
Despite the Sunshine State’s warm winters, your heat pump can still freeze over. As the unit evaporates refrigerant to absorb heat, the condenser’s temperature decreases, causing moisture to accumulate on the coils. In cold temperatures, the condensation may freeze and turn into ice around the coils.
3. Uneven Heating
Is one room in your house nice and toasty, while another is cold and uncomfortable? The remedy could be as simple as making sure all of the louvers on your ducts are open. Check your air filter too, because a clogged filter can block warm air from entering a room. As the blower struggles to draw enough air, it can quickly wear out. Avoid this by changing your filter every three months.
The issue may be more extensive, such as damaged, leaky ducts or an imbalanced airflow throughout the HVAC system.
4. Short Cycling
During short cycling, your HVAC turns on and off too frequently. A short cycle is the reduced period of time that your heat is actually running, usually much less than the normal 10 minutes or so. This incessant starting and stopping wears out your HVAC and diminishes your home’s heat.
5. Cold Air
When turning on the heat after disuse during warm seasons, the vents may blow cold air. If you have electrical heating, this could indicate that the heating element has malfunctioned. Even one defective element could impact air temperature.
With a central furnace, the gas valve may not have been properly turned on, or it has run out of fuel. An incorrectly set thermostat can also make cold air blow instead of warm.
6. Refrigerant Leaks
Your heat pump still needs refrigerant in the winter. Minor leaks can cause higher energy bills, while major leaks can restrict the level of warm air a heat pump produces. This can lead to a complete system failure.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak, don’t wait for a minor issue to become a major one. Contact our team for a professional inspection.
7. Incorrect Thermostat Usage
Often, incorrect thermostat usage is responsible for a poorly heated house. Before you call a technician, troubleshoot by:
- Turning the fan’s switch to “auto,” rather than “on.” If your HVAC is set to “on,” its fan will continuously run even if it has reached the temperature you’ve set. When the thermostat is switched to “auto,” the fan will only run until the desired temperature is reached.
- Determining that the thermostat is set to the “heat” position.
- Making sure that the thermostat temperature is set higher than the room’s temperature.
- Waiting several seconds until you hear the fan’s sound after you turn on the thermostat.
8. Inadequate Insulation
Insulation keeps your Florida home cool in summer, and it also keeps your home warm in winter. However, approximately 50% of heated air can leak out without proper insulation. Not only does insufficient insulation prevent this leakage, but it can help your HVAC run more efficiently and be less susceptible to breakdowns. Additionally, the proper amount of insulation can muffle noises from outside and between rooms and floors.
9. Smoky Odor
When your heater is not being used during the summer, dust accumulates on its components. As this debris burns off when you first turn on your HVAC during winter, it might produce a burning odor. This is normal, and the smell usually quickly dissipates. However, if the odor lingers, it may indicate a serious issue that needs professional attention from our skilled technicians.
10. Faulty Sequencer
Your furnace’s sequencer makes sure that the unit’s heating elements are triggered one at a time. If the sequencer breaks, these components turn on simultaneously, wreaking havoc on the mechanism. At best, you may find yourself constantly resetting the circuit breaker, and at worst the entire system may shut down.
Although you may not have to shovel your car out of snowdrifts or wear five layers of clothing, we do experience chilly winter weather here in Florida. These temperatures can cause HVAC issues from small tune-ups to complete breakdowns. Our licensed, insured and experienced team can make sure your system is in tip-top shape in winter – and all year round.