Common central heating problems

by Team HomeServe |
Heating Home

With winter weather on the horizon for many parts of the country, it’s time to start thinking about turning on the heat. Which means you need to make sure your heating system is working properly.

Wear and tear on your heating system can show up in many ways

Issues can vary from frequent on and off cycling, to heat loss, to annoying sounds -- all of which may keep you up at night.

Read on for some of the most common central heating issues:

Heat loss

Partial heat loss indicates that you have heat, but it is not evenly distributed in the home or the circulation is irregular. Depending on the type of central heating in your home, heat loss could be the result some common furnace problems, such as dirty or clogged filters, an airlock, or mechanical problems.


Air can become trapped in a hydronic heating system, causing an “airlock”. This happens when an air bubble becomes trapped in the pipes, preventing hot water from flowing through the system. This often requires "bleeding" the affected radiators or back-flushing the heating system.

Frequent on/off cycling

Catch this issue early because it can quickly bring down the temperature in your home. The shut-downs may be caused by low water pressure, a closed valve, a problem with the pump, or issues with your thermostat.

Pilot light won’t stay on

In this case, call your gas company immediately for a thorough inspection. They will check that the gas supply is still making it to the pilot light or if there’s a damaged air seal.

Malfunctioning thermostat

Erratic or absent heat may be an indication that your thermostat is on the fritz. Check to see if the thermostat is having power problems or if the programming settings are running correctly.

Weird noises

Sounds (such as gushing, creaking or pinging) come from pipes expanding and then rubbing against the adjacent floorboards or studs. You can read up on heating system noises here.
While pings and clangs aren’t cause for alarm, you want to make sure you head off any potential heating system problems before they become costly and time-consuming Many of these issues can be identified early-on with regular central heating system maintenance; a yearly check-up will help to keep your central heating running clean and issue-free.

HomeServe is here to help. Visit HomeServe to see how you can find an affordable home heating system repair plan.