If you have a sneaking suspicion that your heater is making your home colder rather than warmer, you might be correct! Furnaces can blow “un-heated” air through your home due to several possible issues. Luckily, some of these issues are simple enough for you to solve without a technician’s help. However, others will require some professional expertise and equipment.
If your heater is blowing cold air out of your air vents, go through the following questions to solve or help identify the issue.
Your furnace will not be able to send warm air into your home right away after starting up. Even after your furnace has already begun producing warm air, that air still has to make its way through a series of cold air ducts before it reaches your rooms, which can make it feel lukewarm or cold by the time it leave the air vents.
While this information might seem obvious, technicians often get calls about “broken” furnaces that are merely taking a moment or two to deliver warm air. Keep in mind that if your furnace seems to be taking longer than usual to “warm up,” it might need a tune-up, which is worth a technician visit.
If it’s been more than four weeks since you’ve checked your air filter, recheck it to see if it’s clogged with dust and other particles.
A clogged air filter won’t allow adequate airflow through your heater, which can create numerous problems and ultimately result in a system breakdown. Even if you usually can go up to 90 days with the same filter, certain factors can cause it to clog up more quickly, such as moving boxed-up holiday decorations in and out of closets, welcoming home a new dog or cat, or remodeling.
Many people mistakenly set their furnace to “on” instead of “auto.” When you set your thermostat to “on,” you’re telling your HVAC system’s fan to run, whether the furnace is warming the air or not. Make sure your thermostat is set to “auto,” and confirm the temperature at which you want the heat to turn on.
If your thermostat acts strangely or does not respond, it might need new batteries (if it’s battery-powered), or it might need a repair. You can attempt to reset your thermostat on your own, but if you still experience problems after that, it’s best to contact a technician.
In many newer furnaces, the pilot light will only turn on when the system needs to ignite—as opposed to the “standing” pilot light in order furnaces, which is supposed to remain on at all times. If you own an older furnace with a standing pilot light, you can attempt to relight it on your own, but use caution.
If you are unable to get the pilot light to turn on—or if the pilot light won’t stay on—contact an HVAC technician. There’s likely an issue with your furnace’s ignitor or its thermocouple. The thermocouple’s job is to shut off the gas to your furnace if it detects that the igniter has failed or that the pilot light has gone out. This prevents a build-up of potentially explosive gas. However, if the thermocouple isn’t working correctly, it might be shutting off the gas prematurely.
If your gas company has stopped supplying your home with gas (possibly due to an emergency or scheduled maintenance), then your furnace can’t heat air. To see if your home has gas, try to turn on a gas appliance, such as a stove. If the stove won’t work, then your home probably doesn’t have gas, in which case you should call your gas company.
High-efficiency furnaces have a condensate line (also called a drain line or condensate drain) that carries away the condensation produced by your HVAC equipment. This drainage helps prevent problems with mold, mildew, and corrosion. However, the condensate line can get clogged with dirt and dust, and if temperatures around it are cold enough, it might even get clogged with ice.
When a condensate line clog occurs or when the condensate pump breaks, usually water will pool around your furnace. Even though you can technically clear the blockage yourself, it’s wise to involve an HVAC technician so that they can look for any water that might have backed up into your equipment.
If a furnace issue has you stumped, you can always count on Choice Air Care. We even offer emergency services, 24/7, at no additional charge: (972) 332-3927.