Two Heating Unit Malfunctions You Should Know How To Recognize

18 April 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Your home's heating unit is a very complex system. Consequently, when it comes to identifying a problem with your unit, it can sometimes be difficult. You don't necessarily need to be able to exactly diagnose a malfunction with your heating system, but at least having a general idea allows you to more quickly react to the problem and pass on helpful information to the technician. Take some time to familiarize yourself with two of the most common issues, so that you can quickly resolve them.

Ignition Failure

An ignition failure is a very common problem, particularly when it comes to older heating units. Most people tend to attribute this problem to a faulty electrical connection; however, if your heating unit fails to power on, more than likely, the ignition is to blame. Typically, this failure happens when there is a problem with the pilot light. This is true for both a standing pilot light and an intermittent pilot light.

If you have a standing pilot light, the problem is likely originating from the thermocouple. The thermocouple is the sensor that helps maintain a constant flow of gas to the light, ensuring the pilot remains lit. When it's malfunctioning, the light doesn't get the gas it needs. In terms of an intermittent pilot light, burned internal components within the pilot light are generally to blame. In this case, replacing these parts is the only solution.


Understand that your home's heating unit shouldn't be powering on and off almost non-stop. This is true even if you have the temperature set high on your thermostat. If your unit is going on and off frequently, you're dealing with an issue known as short-cycling. Short-cycling doesn't just use more energy and cause higher utility bills, but it also wears down the unit faster, reducing its lifespan and leading to more frequent repairs.

Generally, this issue is a sign that your heating unit is overheating for one reason or another. As your unit gets too hot, an automatic shut-off feature forces it to power off. Once it cools down, it starts the process all over again. If you're dealing with this issue, it's imperative that you have your unit repaired right away by a professional like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, as short-cycling can lead to a fire.  

The more rapidly you are able to respond to a problem with your heating unit, the more quickly you can have the repairs completed. Quicker repairs help keep you warm and can sometimes save you money on your repair costs.