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Why Is My Heating System Blowing Cold Air?

couple sitting in the cold

Lopolo/ Bigstockphoto.com

You’re bundled up, your teeth are chattering, and your home feels like it’s in a deep freeze. These are desperate times, so why is your heating system blowing cold air? You don’t have time for this! Before you start to panic, there are a few things to consider. Here are some ways you can troubleshoot your HVAC system before making an expensive emergency repair call.

You Just Turned It On

What do we want? Heat! When do we want it? Right now! Unfortunately, that’s not always going to happen. In fact, the colder it is outside, the longer your heating system might need to get warmed up.

Let your HVAC unit run for a few minutes before you hit the panic button. If your home suddenly starts filling with magnificently warmed air, don’t stress unless it becomes a regular problem.

Air Filter is Dirty

dirty filter

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Even if everything is working as it should, a dirty air filter can derail your heating system’s efforts. That’s because, when your filter is clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris, air can’t flow properly.

Change your air filter every 30-60 days to keep your HVAC unit running optimally. Homes with large families, pets, or those living with asthma or allergies may want to replace it more often (or choose a higher quality filter).

Pilot Light Is Out

Older furnaces rely on a pilot light, which needs to remain lit. If your heating system is blowing cold air, it could mean that the pilot light has gone out. Every unit is different, so it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to light it.

When you can’t get it to light or it won’t stay lit, you should contact the gas company to make sure the gas supply to your area hasn’t been cut. If they indicate no problems on their end, reach out to a professional HVAC technician for help.

Air Flow Is Blocked

In addition to having a dirty air filter, there are other ways the air flow in your home can get blocked. Over time, your home’s air ducts and ventilation system can get bogged down by allergens and other particles, which can restrict the passage of air.

Also, it’s a good idea to check each room in your home to make sure no furniture, clothing, toys, boxes, or other items are blocking the registers. Clear away any hindrances, and see if that improves your HVAC’s efficiency.

Thermostat Setting Is Wrong

In order for your HVAC to start heating, the desired thermostat setting must be higher than the current temperature inside the home. So, make sure you’ve actually turned it up high enough to get things going and ensure the heat setting is turned on.

Also, if your thermostat is set to “on,” it will keep running continuously even when your heating system isn’t generating warmed air. Use the “auto” setting so that it only blows heated air. This not only helps with temperature regulation, but also cuts down on unnecessary energy usage.

Flame Sensor Needs Cleaning

Your furnace turns on and for a few glorious moments, you’ve got heat — but then the air suddenly goes cold. What’s happening? It could be as simple as a dirty flame sensor. When the flame sensor on your furnace gets covered in carbon and residue, it won’t be able to read the temperature. As a result, it will turn off.

To access the flame sensor, the gas burner will need to be opened. It’s best to leave this type of maintenance to a trained technician. If you suspect it needs cleaning, call a professional.

Heating Unit Is the Wrong Size

Did you know that there’s an ideal size for a heating system based on your home’s design, square footage, and family size? If the unit installed is too small, it won’t be able to produce enough warmed air to keep your house comfortable.

Not only will you be freezing most of the time, but your HVAC system will be working harder than it should be. That will make your monthly energy costs soar and put unnecessary stress on the unit, putting it at risk for damage and breakdowns.

Gas Supply Is Off

As mentioned, there might be times when the local gas company must shut down the supply of gas to a home or an entire neighborhood for safety reasons. This can impact whether your HVAC system has what it needs to heat your home.

overdue bills

Olivier Le Moal/ Bigstockphoto.com

Of course, this can also be the result of an overdue bill. If you forgot (or were unable) to pay your outstanding balance, you may have been disconnected. It happens to the best of us, so reach out to your utility company and see if you can resolve the matter. Sometimes, they can make arrangements to help you pay by spreading any arrears out over a certain period of time.

 

 

 

HVAC Repair in Richmond, Virginia

If you’ve been troubleshooting the possible reasons why your heating system is blowing cold air and nothing has worked, it’s probably time to call in the professionals. The NATE-certified technicians at W.G. Speeks are proud to serve the Greater Richmond Region and are here to help!

We offer a free consultation, guidance, and can perform the repairs you need to stay comfortable and warm this winter. Don’t get left out in the cold — call us today!

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