Many homes in the United States have already turned on their furnaces to keep the chill of the winter season out. As you start the season by checking each vent and room to make sure it’s warm enough, you may find that some areas are colder than others and even that the furnace isn’t functioning as it had in the past. It’s essential to address this issue before it gets much colder outside so the home’s pipes don’t freeze and so you stay comfortable and healthy. There are many reasons why your furnace may be blowing out cold air.
1. Broken or Dead Thermostat
Thermostats are often the cause of temperature issues in the home. If you live with others, it can be helpful to check with those individuals to see whether they changed any of the settings recently or perhaps adjusted the temperature accidentally. During the winter, thermostats should be set to “auto” rather than “on” so that the furnace isn’t circulating air when the heat isn’t on. It may also be helpful to check that the batteries aren’t dead or low on charge. You should check the thermostat for any issue first because this is a common cause of unexpected furnace changes; someone in the house may have accidentally adjusted the settings, or it could be malfunctioning due to dead batteries.
2. Pilot Light Is Out
Older furnaces may have issues with the pilot light staying on and consistently heating the home. This light can be seen at the bottom of the furnace. You can try turning off the thermostat and relighting the pilot, but if the light immediately goes out again, there could be an issue with the gas line connection. Newer furnaces often come with electric pilot lights that don’t go out on their own. If the pilot light doesn’t stay on consistently, a professional should be called to ensure that the furnace is receiving enough gas and that there aren’t any broken parts or connections leaking gas into the home.
3. Damaged Ducts
Ducts are responsible for distributing the warm air from the furnace around the home. Every type of ductwork, from hard steel to flexible tubes, can break down over time or experience leaks. When there are tears in the ductwork, cold air can be pulled from the unheated parts of the house like the attic and basement. This cold air will mix with the heated air and will be distributed around the home, keeping the building cool rather than heating it up. This air movement also exposes inhabitants to unfiltered air and contaminants. Such a common issue can be solved by calling in a professional to check the ductwork for any leaks or tears as well as to clean out dust and other particulates that can cause respiratory distress and lowered air quality.
4. Clogged Filters
Filters are one of the major parts of a furnace that you can maintain yourself and switch out to keep the home clean. Filters are responsible for removing particulates and contaminants from the home to ensure air quality. They also keep dust from overwhelming the furnace system; an overabundance of dust can cause the system to overheat or become clogged. Filters should be switched out frequently based on several factors, including the number of animals in the home, allergy sensitivities, and manufacturer recommendations. A full filter can overwork the furnace and limit how much air is getting through to be warmed. Regularly switching out a filter can ease the bills and ensure the machine is working correctly. Many thermostats have an indication of when a filter should be switched out.
5. Overheated Furnace
A furnace may begin overheating if dust and contaminants are getting into the engine. There may also be a lack of usable air being allowed into the furnace that can be heated up and distributed. If a furnace begins to blow warm air that gradually cools until it stops blowing anything out at all, the furnace may be overheating. The system protects itself by lowering its internal temperature and eventually shutting down. This problem can usually be fixed by switching out the filter. If this issue persists or worsens, a professional should be called to provide expert advice and maintenance.
6. Dirty Flame Sensor
Flame sensors help the furnace determine that it has heated enough air for the home and that it can shut off until it’s needed again. If this sensor becomes dirty or damaged, it can stop the furnace from heating any of the air that’s being distributed around the home. There are many little parts inside a furnace that work to keep combustion gases contained and safe, hot air pumped around the home. While many of these individual parts are inexpensive, they should only be maintained by professional technicians who understand the machine and can safely make the repair.
7. Worn-Out Parts
Most furnaces will need to be replaced in the home about 10 to 20 years after they’ve been installed. It’s common that parts will slowly wear out or become damaged over time as the furnace is used. These parts, like the gas valves or the thermocouples, can cause the furnace to function less efficiently overall, can damage other parts, and can increase the risk of gas leaks. Blowing out cold air may be an indication of a bigger issue with the furnace that should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent more damage.
8. Damaged Gas Line
A damaged gas line can be difficult to notice at first but will affect the entire home. If you’ve worked through the other common furnace issues and are still having problems with cold air, it could be because the furnace isn’t receiving enough gas to properly heat the home. Furnaces often have a safety feature that will prompt them to turn off if the gas supply is insufficient. This feature will leave the fan in the furnace on, which will then blow cold air through the home. You should always be on the lookout for any indication of a natural gas leak and call a professional technician to avoid putting you or your family in an unsafe home environment.
9. Improper Installation/Maintenance
It can be difficult for untrained individuals to properly remove, install, or provide maintenance to a furnace. Many parts can be damaged during the process, leading to function problems like cold air from the vents, drafty rooms, and overheated furnaces. Your best option when preparing to remodel the home with a new HVAC system is to trust a professional who is trained and certified in installation and repair.
Black-Haak is a family-owned and -operated business that provides excellent service to Fox Valley, WI, and the surrounding areas. We can help you with all your heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing needs with our certified and experienced technicians. Our goal is to provide superior customer service while ensuring your home and business are properly heated and maintained.
All of our technicians have formal education in the field as well as several years of experience to ensure they can meet all your needs with a smile and an explanation. Trust Black-Haak for all your home and business needs in Fox Valley and its surrounding areas.