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Surviving the London Chill: How to Tackle Common Winter HVAC Problems in Ontario

Common wnter problems for HVAC systems in London, ON - Young Woman Feeling Cold At Home, Sitting On Couch Covered In Blanket

As the first flurries of snow touch the streets of London, Ontario, homeowners everywhere gear up to face the notorious Canadian winter. With the cold months come the frequent winter HVAC  problems that many face in this region. As icy winds blow and temperatures dip below freezing, your heating system is put to the test. Will it rise to the challenge, or will it fall short?

Understanding these challenges and knowing how to deal with them is paramount for a warm, comfortable winter. MaxCare Heating & Cooling gives a deep dive into these concerns and solutions to keep your home snug and safe.

1. Frost and Ice Build-up

Issue: The outdoor units of heat pumps and air conditioning systems can accumulate frost or even ice. While a little frost is normal, excessive build-up can impede performance, affecting heat transfer.


  • Regularly check outdoor units, ensuring they are free of debris.
  • If ice build-up is excessive, consider contacting a professional to check for malfunctioning defrost controls or refrigerant issues.

2. Irregular Heating

Issue: Rooms in the house might be colder than others. This could be because of poor insulation, drafts, or uneven distribution due to duct issues.


  • Seal windows and doors to eliminate drafts.
  • Check the insulation, especially in attics and basements.
  • If the problem persists, having the duct system checked for blockages or leaks might be beneficial.

3. Overworking Furnaces

Issue: With the extreme cold of London, Ontario, furnaces sometimes run more than they should, increasing wear and tear.


  • Schedule regular maintenance checks.
  • Ensure thermostats are correctly set. If the thermostat is outdated, consider replacing it with a programmable one for better efficiency.

4. Pilot Light Problems

Issue: The pilot light is essential for the furnace to work. If it’s out or flickering, the furnace won’t provide heat.


  • First, check if it’s just blown out and can be safely reignited.
  • If it continually goes out, it might indicate a bigger problem like a faulty thermocouple. In such cases, it’s best to get a professional’s help.

5. Dry Indoor Air

Issue: Heating can rob the home’s air of moisture, leading to dry, uncomfortable conditions.


  • Use humidifiers to maintain balanced humidity.
  • Houseplants can also add moisture to the air, providing both comfort and aesthetic appeal.

6. Unexpected Breakdowns

Issue: Like all machines, HVAC systems can break down, especially when they’re most needed.


  • Don’t wait for a breakdown. Regular maintenance is the key. A professional can spot and fix potential issues before they become major winter HVAC problems.
  • If a sudden breakdown occurs, ensure you contact a reliable HVAC service for speedy repairs.

7. Thermostat Malfunctions

Issue: The thermostat acts as the brain of your HVAC system. When it malfunctions, you might notice the system not kicking on when it should or not accurately maintaining set temperatures.


  • Firstly, ensure the thermostat is set to the correct mode (heating during winter).
  • Check if the batteries need replacement. If they do, change them and observe if the problem persists.
  • Sometimes, dust and dirt accumulation inside the thermostat can cause malfunctions. Gently clean the interior with a soft brush.
  • If the issue remains unresolved, it might be time to consider replacing the thermostat or seeking professional assistance to determine if there’s a deeper-rooted issue.

8. Clogged Filters

Issue: Over time, filters in HVAC systems can become clogged with dirt, dust, and other particulates. A clogged filter restricts airflow, forcing the system to work harder, which can lead to increased energy consumption and potential system breakdowns.


  • It’s recommended to check filters at least once a month, especially during high-use seasons.
  • Depending on the filter type and the environment around the house (presence of pets, external pollution, etc.), it might be necessary to replace filters every 1-3 months.
  • Ensure the replacement filter is of the right size and specification for your HVAC system.
  • Remember, clean filters not only enhance the system’s efficiency but also improve indoor air quality.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This couldn’t be more accurate for winter HVAC problems. By anticipating issues and setting up regular maintenance schedules, homeowners can mitigate many common issues.

However, unexpected problems can always arise. When they do, it’s essential to have a trusted expert to turn to. If you’re in London, Ontario, and need assistance, contact MaxCare Heating & Cooling for trusted solutions and expert advice today! Your comfort, safety, and peace of mind are worth it.