"Typically you'll see that either the backup heating isn't able to keep up with the demands in the home," said repair expert Marco Giancroce. "Or there are potential issues outside, electrical issues and so forth."
Giancroce, the co-owner of Morvent's One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, says there are several problems that could impact your heating unit during the winter months.
The heat pump coil could be iced up, the refrigerant or Freon that prevents the pump from being impaired could be low, or the pump may not be getting power.
Mary Jo Grove knew she had a heating problem as soon as she walked out of her bedroom.
"I came out into the living room area and it was cold. I said, 'Ooooh,'" she said.
The first thing she did was check her thermostat. In Mary's case, the sequencer that turns on the backup heat in her house went out and had to be replaced.
There are several things you can check in your own home before you call the repair man. The first is your fuse box. Make sure all your breakers are on.
Also, says Giancroce, "make sure your filter's clean and changed. That's extremely important. We get a lot of service calls as a result of that."
And as Mary did, check your thermostat in case someone else in the house has turned it down.
Finally, if you do need service, contact a repair company as soon as possible. Chances are they are busy with many other calls this winter season.