Like every machine, eventually your heater will experience problems. This can happen for a variety of reasons including wear-and-tear, dirt accumulation, weather, lack of maintenance, and more. Fortunately, B&L Ott in Reading, PA can help you repair almost any issue your heater may encounter. We have the tools and experience to help you get the job done right. You will find a list of some of the most common forced-air heater problems below.

  • Reduced efficiency
  • Poor indoor air quality
  • Clogged or damaged filters
  • Noisiness
  • Incorrect size 
  • Pilot light being out
  • Faulty thermostat

It is always a good idea to be knowledgeable about certain issues your HVAC system may encounter. When you know a bit about how your heater works, you can quickly identify issues. Then when you happen to notice one, you can get it repaired before the problem gets worse. This saves you from more hassle in the long run and helps you extend the life of your unit. 

If you’d like to find out more about Forced Air Heating Problems, then continue reading this article.

Reduced Efficiency

When it comes to HVAC systems, one of your main concerns should be efficiency. An efficient system saves energy and helps ensure maximum comfort. While a forced-air system is an effective way to heat a large area, it isn’t the most efficient way. Additionally, there are many complications that can reduce the efficiency of your heater. Read on to learn more. 


There are multiple factors that can affect the efficiency of a forced-air HVAC system. One of the most common is wear-and-tear. Parts such as fans, wiring, and switches can become damaged over time from dirt and friction. Once damaged, they no longer work properly and can cause the rest of your system to struggle. 

Efficiency can also be lost in the air ducts. If there is a leak, dent, too many turns, or too much debris blocking the airflow, then the hot air can get trapped within your air ducts. In that case, your heater will have to run longer to warm your home. If this happens, you will likely notice your energy bills rising. 


If your heater has simply experienced too much wear-and-tear, you will likely need to have the damaged parts replaced. The cost of the repair depends on the part and how complicated it is to install. 

If your problem is an issue with leaky or damaged air ducts, you will either need to get that section of your ducts replaced or have your ducts sealed. On the other hand, if the issue is dirty air ducts, you will need to have your air ducts cleaned. We recommend having your air ducts cleaned every 8-10 years.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

If you find your family coughing, sneezing, or having trouble breathing you may have an issue with poor indoor air quality. This means that there are allergens or pollutants in the air that are aggravating their symptoms. 


Poor indoor air quality occurs when your HVAC system isn’t filtering the air properly. It could mean that your filter is clogged, that there is dirt buildup in your air ducts, or that your system is getting old and is not functioning properly. 


Standard filters should be replaced every month on average. If you haven’t changed your filter in a while, this should be one of the first things you check. If your filter is covered in dust, be sure to change or clean it. 

Air ducts should be cleaned every 8-10 years on average. If changing your filter doesn’t resolve your problem, contact B&L Ott to schedule an air duct cleaning. It is best to call on a professional with the right tools for this process. Otherwise, you can miss a large portion of the debris. 

If your heater is getting old, it may be time to replace it. The professionals at B&L Ott can help you with everything you may need to know. We will match you with the best heater for your home and family. Then we will skillfully install it for you.

Clogged or Damaged Filters

As mentioned in the section above, a clogged air filter can cause poor air quality. Along with poor air quality, it can affect the efficiency and the ability of your entire system to work properly.  


When your filter is clogged or damaged, it will no longer be able to trap the pollutants passing through it. When this debris gets into your HVAC system, it can cause damage to the more sensitive components. Then, you will likely end up needing expensive repairs. 

A clogged filter causes your heater to work harder to heat your home. When your system has to run longer, it will wear down faster. Parts will break sooner. You will need more repairs overall and your system’s life expectancy will decrease.


If your air filter is clogged or damaged, the first thing you should do is replace it as soon as possible. This way, you can avoid more damage to your unit. As mentioned before, the standard 1” filter that comes with most units will need to be changed every month. If you have a higher quality filter, it is still a good idea to check it on a monthly basis anyway. When the filter is covered in a layer of dust, it is time to change or clean it. 

If you believe that dirt may have gotten further into your HVAC system and is causing issues, be sure to call B&L Ott to schedule maintenance.

Incorrect Size

When it comes to choosing a HVAC system, it is  very important to make the right choice from the beginning. If you do not choose the right size and type of system for your climate, you can run into some costly issues. 


If your system is too small, it may not be able to handle the demand for warm air. It will run for long periods of time and wear out faster. That being said, it may seem like a larger system would be beneficial as it can produce more hot air in a short period of time. However, this is not the case. If your unit is too large, it will begin to short cycle. It will turn on, run for a short period of time, then shut off again. This can also wear out your system faster and become inefficient. 


It is important to install the right size heater from the beginning, as this problem can’t necessarily be fixed. If your heater is too small, you could install additional heaters in certain parts of your home. However, it is better to ensure that you avoid this problem altogether. You can call on the professionals at B&L Ott to calculate your home’s load size for you from the start. Then we can assist you in choosing the best heater for your home and family. 


While your furnace is typically tucked away in the basement, garage, or another part of your home, it should not be forgotten. It is a good idea to check on it regularly. If you start hearing strange noises coming from it, it may be time to take some action.


Noises that you should listen for when it comes to your heater include banging, whistling, popping, knocking, hissing, crackling, or sizzling. This typically indicates that there is some sort of mechanical issue with your heater. There may be a damaged part, a clog, or something restricting the airflow. This can be caused by general wear-and-tear, lack of maintenance, or another outside source. 


When it comes to a noisy heater, the best course of action is to call a certified HVAC contractor like B&L Ott. While there are some simple tasks you can try, it can be difficult to pinpoint and repair your heater on your own. Additionally,  if the job is not done properly, it can lead to more costly problems.

Pilot Light is Out

If you have an old gas furnace and notice a lack of heat in your Berks County home, then one common issue you may want to check is your pilot light. 


If your pilot light is working properly, it will have a steady blue flame that is about ¼ inch to ½ inch in height. If there is a strong draft, a dirty orifice in the pilot burner, or dirt in the gas tube, it can cause problems for your pilot light. A faulty thermocouple can also cause the gas supply to shut off.  


If your pilot light is out, it may simply be a matter of resetting it. However, it is important to be smart and be careful. If you smell a gas leak at all, be sure to turn off the gas and call for help. You don’t want to ignore this sort of issue and allow a fire to start in your home.  B&L Ott can also help you replace a faulty thermocouple if that turns out to be the issue.

Faulty Thermostat

If you are having temperature problems and your pilot light isn’t the culprit, another place to check is the thermostat. If the thermostat and heater are not properly paired or if the thermostat is faulty, you can experience issues with the temperature. 


A faulty thermostat can cause a variety of issues. These issues include:

  • Your heater not producing heat at all.
  • You notice temperature swings within your home.
  • Your heater cycling on and off too often (also known as short-cycling.)
  • Your heater is running constantly. 

Be sure to pay attention to these aspects to help determine if a faulty thermostat may be your issue. 


One of the first tasks you will want to complete is to check the settings on your thermostat. For instance, if you want heat, make sure that it is set to heat and not cool. Additionally, check to see if it is set to “ON” or “AUTO.” This may seem like an obvious step, but you want to make sure it isn’t simply on the wrong setting before you determine that it needs a repair.

You will also want to check the power running to your thermostat or the thermostat’s batteries. Also, be sure that the thermostat is clean and that dirt is not affecting its ability to read the temperature of the room. You can also test the thermostat by increasing the temperature by 5 degrees. Check to see if your heater turns on. This can help determine if your thermostat is the issue. If you need more help, a B&L Ott HVAC technician would be happy to assist you.

B&L Ott Can Help You Repair Your Heater

Issues with your heater can occur rather unexpectedly. If your heater is experiencing any of the issues listed above, we can help get it back up and running so your family can be warm and comfortable. 

You can also call B&L Ott and talk to a certified professional. We have seen many different issues over the years and can help you with almost any issue you may encounter. 

B&L Ott can also help you prevent more of these issues with our preventative maintenance service. When your heater gets serviced on a regular basis, you can catch small issues before they turn into major problems.  This saves you more in the long run. By ensuring that your heater gets the maintenance it requires, you can help avoid the common problems on this list. You can keep your system running efficiently, and even extend the life of your unit.