Why is My Heater Blowing Cold Air and What Should I Do?

By December 18, 2019 Maintenance
heater blowing cold air

What if your house became a “winter wonderland” in the worst possible way?

All of us count on our heaters to keep us warm during the coldest parts of the year. But if you have a heater blowing cold air, you end up with a home that’s just as cool inside as the weather outside.

Do you know how to diagnose the problem and even how to fix it? If you’d like to be prepared for the worst, keep reading to learn all about it!

Why Is My Heater Blowing Cold Air?

It’s human nature to expect a simple explanation for a major problem. But your HVAC system is very complicated. If your heater is blowing cold air, then there are multiple possible causes for the issue.

Don’t worry: we’ve outlined some of the most common causes of the problem below. We’ve also included our advice for what to do so you can “keep your cool” without turning into a popsicle!

Utility Woes

When you’re trying to diagnose a problem, it’s important to start with the simplest potential causes. And that’s why you need to doublecheck things with your utility company.

One of the most common causes of cold air blowing is that your utility company has cut off the heat. This may happen if you forget to make a payment. Alternatively, they may have experienced a computer or clerical error that made them think you haven’t paid yet.

Either way, this is a problem you can fix by ringing up the company. First, have them verify that your payment is in good standing. Second, have them send a technician out to inspect what might have caused the problem.

In all likelihood, there was an issue with the connection to your home. When they fix the connection, you should be as good as new!

Thermostat Settings

Now that you’ve ruled out your utility company, it’s time to check out another likely culprit: your thermostat. Let’s start by checking those settings.

You or someone else in your family may have accidentally changed a thermostat setting that is affecting the temperature. For example, it is easy to switch the “cool” setting on without realizing you have done so.

It’s also possible to simply adjust the temperature to a number you didn’t want. With smart thermostats, this can happen if you brush against a touchscreen or accidentally touch a setting on a smartphone app.

In rare cases, a malfunctioning thermostat may need to be entirely replaced. While this is always annoying, such a replacement is usually cheaper than fixing or replacing some major part of your HVAC system.

Fan Issues: More Thermostat Woes

We reviewed some of the common “human error” issues with the thermostat. Another very common error has to do with your fan.

Many people switch the fan to “off” on their thermostats during seasons such as summer. This may be because it is not really needed or simply because it’s so loud.

However, you will have problems if that continues into the colder seasons. Your HVAC system actually needs the fan to get the hot hair to where it’s going. Without that, you’re not going to feel anything when you turn the heater on.

As soon as the temperature drops for the season, switch the fan to “auto” so it can turn on as needed.

No More Pilot Light

Next up: depending on your home, you may have an issue with the pilot light. Whether this problem is even possible comes down to how old your house is.

The classic problem of the pilot light going out can affect your HVAC system quite dramatically. Without that light, you’re not going to get any heat!

However, the light typically only goes out in older homes. Newer homes often feature electronic pilot lights that cannot extinguish. So, if your home was built within the last decade or so, the pilot light is unlikely to be the cause of your problem.

A Clogged Filter

You’re probably discovering that major heating problems can often be caused by small problems. Here’s another example: you may be dealing with a clogged filter.

Many homeowners think of a clogged filter as an air conditioning problem. And it’s true that if the filters are dirty and clogged, you won’t get any cold air on a hot summer day.

But it works both ways: clogged filters also keep warm air from going through. So before you call a professional, try swapping the filter and seeing what kinds of results you get.

Dirty Sensor

Have you ever wondered how your furnace knows whether to stay on or not? It all comes down to a special flame sensor. When the sensor detects hot air from the furnace, the sensor helps keep the hot air coming for as long as you need it.

If that sensor is dirty or malfunctioning, though, there can be a major issue. The air will basically go cold as soon as you turn the furnace on.

This is another “good news, bad news” kind of diagnosis. While any HVAC problem is annoying, fixing this issue is easier (and cheaper) than fixing most mechanical problems.

DIY or Call A Pro?

Speaking of fixing things, we’ve now come to the big question: should you try to fix these problems on your own or hire local professionals to get it done?

The honest answer is that it depends on what the problem is. It’s easy for most users to change an air filter or adjust the thermostat. But fixing a dirty or malfunctioning fan means performing delicate work on a gas burner, and that’s best left to professionals.

It’s also worth calling a pro if you can’t properly diagnose the problem. Because if you’re not sure what is causing the issue, any attempt to fix it can actually make things worse!

What’s Next?

Now you know possible causes for your heater blowing cold air. But do you know the local pros who can give you a hand if you need it?

We specialize in keeping the Sunshine State warm even during the winter. To see how we can give your home back to you, come request a quote today!

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