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Some people move to Florida to escape the brutally cold winter weather. After all, extremely cold days are uncommon here! 

Whether you were born in Florida or you moved here, we bet you get used to the warmth of Tampa Bay’s sunshine. That means you probably turn up the heat when the weather turns cooler!

Even 60-degree days can send a shiver up your spine. And when the air is cold enough to nip your nose, you run indoors to get toasty. At least, that’s the plan. 

But since we use our heat so little, it can develop problems from simply sitting around unused! When it’s time to turn on your heating system, it might not work well… or at all. 

Did you forget about maintenance this year? If so, you may still have the opportunity to dodge unnecessary repairs by calling Action Air Conditioning to schedule a routine tune-up service. 

However, if it’s too late, and you’re here because you have problems with your heater, this article is for you. Let’s dive in and discuss 6 of the most common heating system problems in tropical climates.

man feeling uncomfortable due to heating system problems

The #1 Most Common Heating System Problem is….

Your thermostat. 

Whether you have a standard or smart thermostat, if it stops working properly, your heating system will stop working too.

The following are some of the ways your thermostat can cause havoc with your heating system:

  • Low battery
  • Improper settings
  • Broken thermometer
  • Incompatibility
  • Poor location

All of these malfunctions have the potential to reduce comfort levels and cause other heating-related issues. Your heating system may act erratically, short cycle, or refuse to turn on.

Other heating system problems will require a little more sleuthing. Namely, you need to know what type of heating system you have first.

What Type of Heating System Do You Have?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 81% of homes in Florida have electric resistance heating or heat pump systems. A very small percentage of heating systems in Florida use gas. 

If you know exactly what type of heating system you have, go ahead and skip this section. If not, hang tight, we will help you out!

Electric heat types may include:

  • Electric radiators
  • Hydronic radiators
  • In-floor hydronic radiant
  • In-floor electric radiant
  • Electric baseboards
  • Electric forced air heating

The problem with identifying what type of heating system you have is that many of the above systems can also be powered by heat pumps or gas. 

Even though your outdoor HVAC unit (for your air conditioner) is electric, your indoor unit may be different. Go inside and check your indoor unit. It may be in a closet, the attic, or a storage room. 

Once you find it, look for a sticker or tag with the manufacturer’s name, model number, and other identifiable information. Take your clues over to your smartphone or computer and type them into the search bar. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an owner’s manual PDF that includes lots of helpful information, including exactly what your heating system is!

Now that you know what kind of heating system you have, you can determine what problems it may encounter. Any equipment that sits for over 9 months will need a little additional care, but every type of heating system has its own unique problems.

If you have Electric Heat

If you have electric heat, there are 2 common heating system problems that you may experience while living in Tampa, Florida.

2. Heating Element Failure

When your heating system uses resistance heating, it means that it uses electricity to generate heat inside the system. In most cases, air or water is used to transport warmth from the heating elements through the house.

Over time, heating elements can get old and stop working. Your heating and cooling expert at Action Air Conditioning may be able to fix it, or they may need to replace it. 

Even if you’re missing just one heating element, you’re not getting the right amount of heat into your home. Besides being cold, this can cause your energy bills to go up a lot and wear out other parts of the heater.

3. Sequencer Issues

If your heat does not turn on at all, or if there is a delay between turning on the unit and feeling warm, the furnace’s sequencer may be broken. 

The sequencer in your furnace keeps your electrical system safe by making the heating elements turn on one at a time. If they fired up all at once, it could blow a fuse or trigger your circuit breaker. 

But if the sequencer isn’t working properly, it can prevent heating elements from turning on, or worse, it cannot prevent them from turning on all at once!

If you have Forced Air Heat

If you have a heat pump or electric forced air, there are two more heating system problems you may experience.

4. Air Handler Problems

When you have a heat pump or electric forced air, your air conditioner and heater use the same fan called the air handler. This is one of the most common heating system problems because this piece of equipment works hard all year long.

The air handler, also known as a blower fan, is the part of a Florida heating system that can break down the most. It needs to be cleaned, oiled, and tuned up twice a year to last as long as possible.

If you skip too many of your biannual maintenance services, you may find yourself in need of repair or replacement.

5. Dirty Filters

A dirty or clogged air filter can reduce the efficiency of an appliance because it has to work harder to move unhealthy air throughout the room. A dirty filter can also cause the fan’s limit switch to fail. 

By replacing the air filter every 90 days, you can stop this problem from happening and make your appliance work better and last longer.

If you have a Heat Pump 

Heat pumps can have their own unique problems. The most common heat pump problem is a low level of coolant. Despite its name, coolant, a.k.a. refrigerant, is the lifeblood of a heat pump.

6. Low Refrigerant

If you have a heat pump, your system reverses the air-cooling process of taking away heat and instead draws heat from outdoors and brings it inside. To do this, it needs refrigerant, just like your air conditioner! 

If you have a heat pump that both heats and cools, low refrigerant can cause it to underperform or fail altogether. Luckily, a cooling and heating technician from Action Air Conditioning can service your heat pump and add the precise amount of refrigerant to help your system work efficiently again. 

Do You Need Help with your Heating System Problems in Tampa Bay?

Action Air Conditioning is not just an air conditioning service provider; we are both a heating and cooling company. And we are just one call away! 

At Action Air Conditioning, we understand how important it is that you and your family stay warm when the weather turns sour. That’s why our team is standing by to help you find the comfort you need right away.