There’s nothing worse during the winter than cranking up the thermostat only to discover that your heater is blowing out cold air. But why is it doing that? The HVAC experts at Air Works Heating & Air put together this handy post to help you determine why it’s happening. Learn why your heater is acting up and start getting your house warm again as soon as possible!
This is the simplest answer of all, but the first thing you should consider if you have a heater blowing cold air. If you just bumped up the temperature or turned on the furnace after it’s been unused for a while, it may just need some time to warm up. Give it 5-10 minutes for the system to cycle the air. If it still hasn’t warmed up home after this amount of time, it’s probably safe to assume you’re experiencing one of the other following issues.
While a no-brainer, this is one of the most important heating tips. Be sure to check with the other inhabitants of your home to ensure they haven’t touched the thermostat. Different people have different preferences. It’s important to keep in mind that, while the majority of your home may prefer high winter heat, others may like an arctic house temperature in the winter. Maybe they’re trying to save money by turning it down. Before you worry about any equipment malfunctions, have an open discussion with your housemates to determine if the heating unit is blowing cold air because someone likes it that way.
The next best case scenario is that you have a thermostat problem. This can happen for all kinds of reasons. If your thermostat is set to “on,” and not “auto,” your furnace will constantly run, even if it’s not on the heating cycle. This means cold air will blow through the system. This is a simple—and common—user error that’s easily fixed.
Other thermostat issues may be mechanical. For example, if your thermostat runs on batteries, make sure they’re not dying or dead. This can cause the unit to misfire and possibly cut off your heat. If you have a smart thermostat, ensure that it’s properly programmed to your preferences. They’re typically good at tracking behaviors in the home and setting the temperature accordingly. Even so, the technology isn’t perfect, and this is always a possibility.
Keep in mind that if your winter house temperature is plummeting because of a heat pump not heating, your HVAC system may be set to A/C mode at no fault of the thermostat. If this is the case, a professional can help troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Speaking of heat pumps, there are other reasons, aside from mechanical explanations, that this part could malfunction. It might be iced up or covered in a snow drift. These are problems you can easily fix yourself. If you’re experiencing a heat pump not heating, you may also have a low refrigerant charge, bad valves, or a faulty metering device. These are all problems the pros will have to handle.
If you have an electric furnace, a tripped breaker can cause even more problems. This means heat won’t circulate through your home at all. If your furnace is blowing cold air (or it isn’t running at all), check to see if you’ve tripped a breaker before you worry about the performance of your HVAC system.
Gas furnaces typically have an electric starter that ignites the gas burner. If you’ve tripped a breaker, your furnace may still turn on, but the air won’t warm up if the gas burner hasn’t ignited. This means that your furnace will cycle cold air throughout the house.
If you have an older furnace, it may have a pilot light, which functions similarly. The pilot light can go out if the gas company has recently worked on your gas lines, or if the gas supply was interrupted for any other reason. This can also cause your heating unit to blow cold air. Simply relight your pilot light to fix the issue. If it continually blows out, contact the HVAC pros at Air Works Heating & Air.
You flame sensor tells your gas heating unit to turn on and warm the air that’s cycling through. If your flame sensor is dirty, it may not recognize whether your burners have turned on, and can prevent them from igniting at all. This means that any air cycling through your heating unit won’t be warmed. So, if your gas heating unit is blowing cold air on a cold winter day, this is a likely culprit.
If these heating tips don’t help, the reliable HVAC contractors at Air Works Heating & Air will troubleshoot your heating system, and warm up your house in no time. Whether it’s a heat pump not heating or a heater blowing cold air, you can count on Air Works to keep you warm in North Carolina.