Every winter, when the furnace is blowing cold air instead of hot heat, it’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare. But before you panic, there are a few things you can do to identify why your furnace isn’t working properly.
Be sure your furnace has warmed up
One of the first things you’ll want to do is ensure that your furnace has had time to warm up. Depending on the type of furnace, it can take anywhere from ten minutes to one hour for it to reach full heat. This is why many furnaces have a “delay start” or “hold-in heat” feature, which draws energy even when off so your heating system stays pre-heated until you need it.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to tell if your furnace has warmed up, namely by inspecting the air coming out of the vents. If it’s still cold, double check the touch controls on your thermostat that might be set too low or bypassed altogether.
Another common reason why furnaces blow cold air is clogs. It’s important to check the vents for blockages before working on any other issues, because a heater that blows dust and debris can’t work properly.
Check thermostat settings
If your furnace is still blowing cold air, the first thing you’ll want to do is be sure that your thermostat is set to the right temperature. This will be especially true if you just finished installing a new furnace. It’s common for furnaces to send out very cold air at first, but they should warm up within an hour or so. If this doesn’t happen, there may be something wrong with the thermostat.
To access the thermostat settings on an analog thermostat, locate them under the red cover, typically located near one of the vents. To access the settings on a digital thermostat, it should either be listed under “Settings” or “Thermostats.” If your thermostat is giving you an error message, check the manual to know what this means. Once you identify why your furnace has stopped blowing hot air, it may be easy for you to figure out how to fix the problem!
For example, say your furnace still blows cold air despite being set at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This could mean there are problems with the thermostat, either because it’s broken or not connected properly. If it’s connected and working correctly but still emits cold air, this could be an issue with your furnace itself.
If there are problems with your furnace, you may need to call in a professional once you’ve identified why it’s blowing cold air. Furnaces are complicated, and while many homeowners can do repairs themselves, it’s always advised that you call a professional when things get serious.
Check the air filter
One thing to check is the filter. If the filter needs to be changed or cleaned, this might be the culprit for your furnace not warming up. If you have a multi-stage furnace, this filter might be located on the outside of your furnace. If it’s an oil burner, this is typically inside the barrel.
For any furnace type, look for an intake or grill that’s recessed into the wall of your home. This will be where the filter is located, and you can simply wipe it clean or replace it. If this doesn’t fix the issue, try replacing the filter with a new one.
Check the pilot light (for a gas furnace)
One thing to check when your furnace is blowing cold air is the pilot light. For a gas furnace, the pilot light must be turned on for the heat to work properly.
If you have any doubts about whether or not your pilot light is on, try turning it off and on again. If the furnace starts heating properly when you turn it back on, you know it was probably just off. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try calling in a professional to make sure nothing else has gone wrong with your gas furnace!
Reset your system (electric furnace)
Electric furnaces, while slightly more complicated to work with, are fairly easy to fix.
If your furnace is still blowing cold air, the first thing you’ll want to do is reset the heating system. This will be especially true if you just finished installing a new furnace. A common cause of furnaces blowing cold air at first is their systems being reset incorrectly during installation, and this may simply need a quick fix!
Check your ductwork
One thing to do when your furnace is blowing cold air is check your ductwork. It’s a common mistake during installation for furnaces to send out very cold air at first, but they should warm up within an hour or so. If this doesn’t happen, it may be due to a problem with the ductwork.
To access the intake vents for the ducts where the furnace connects, follow the metal pipe outside. This will usually lead to a filter that you can clean or replace if needed. If this doesn’t fix the issue, try replacing the filter with a new one.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to call in a professional for help! It’s always advised that homeowners hire professionals when dealing with heating and cooling issues. You don’t want to risk breaking something or accidentally making the issue worse.
If you’re experiencing cold air blowing from your furnace despite it being set at the right temperature, there are a few things that could be the culprit. Did you change or clean your filter? Is the pilot light on for your gas furnace and if so is it off and then back on again to reset the system? For electric furnaces, has anything been recently installed incorrectly or is there an error message coming up when trying to turn the heat on? If these simple fixes don’t solve this problem, we recommend calling in a professional as soon as possible! It’s always advised that homeowners hire professionals when dealing with heating and cooling issues. You don’t want to risk breaking something or accidentally making the issue worse. Give us a call today and we’d be happy to help!