3 Reasons Why Your Heater is Blowing Cold Air
There are few things worse than turning on your heating system to take the chill out of your Overland Park home and getting a blast of cold air instead. If you don’t have a slow starter that begins to warm up within a minute or two, there may be a problem within your unit. Although different types of heaters process differently, an inefficient heating system is not only uncomfortable to live with, it can lower your energy efficiency and increase your monthly fuel bills.
Since the potential causes may be different for a traditional fuel-burning furnace versus electric heaters, we’ll cover the differences. However, regardless of whether you have a gas furnace, an oil burner, or an electric heat pump, the problem is usually something simple that your heating repair technician can take care of in no time.
Gas, Oil, and Electric Furnaces
A furnace, regardless of the fuel source, heats your home by burning fuel to heat the air inside of your home or commercial building. This is especially beneficial if you live in a place that has lower seasonal temperatures, as it does the job regardless of how cold it is outside; whether it’s 30 degrees or -30 degrees, your furnace will work with the same efficiency.
If your heater is blowing cold air, and you’re not low on fuel, there are usually one of three reasons:
1. Your thermostat is set to ‘on’ instead of ‘auto.’
The symptoms of this are typically either having your furnace blow hot and then cold intermittently or having it blow a constant stream of cool air. If this is happening, check your thermostat’s settings. If it’s switched on, turn it to auto and see if that helps.
2. Your pilot light is out.
This is the second most common reason for a furnace blowing cold, but it can have several causes. You should be able to access the pilot light through a panel in your furnace. If the flame is out, check the room for drafts and then very carefully try to re-light it. If the flame stays lit, you’re good to go; if it keeps going out, there are several possibilities:
– The fuel valve may be off
– The pilot light may be clogged with dirt
– If you smell gas or oil, there may be a leak in the line
– The thermocoupler is bad
3. Your furnace is overheating.
Usually, this is the issue if your system is blowing hot, and then cold, and then stopping altogether. You can try turning the furnace off completely, and then turning it back on. If the same thing happens again, it’s usually due to a dirty furnace or a clogged air filter. This is a very serious situation, and trying to run your furnace when it’s overheating is a fire hazard; get it serviced immediately.
Unless your problem was due to a closed valve or a pilot light that blew out because of a draft, you need to use an alternative heat source, like a portable space heater, and call in a professional for servicing as soon as possible.
Issues with Your Heat Pump
A heat pump is an electrical unit that works by drawing in cooler air from an outside source to an area inside the unit called a heat sink, then transferring the air to a warmer section of the unit, and then out into your home or office through duct work and vents; in short, it removes heat from the air and redirects it out side the unit. This process in reverse is how an air conditioner works, and why many heat pumps function as both heating and cooling systems.
It May Be Working Just Fine
For people who are used to the very strong – usually 130 – 140°F – and constant heat of a gas or oil furnace, which heats the air directly, the heat from a heat pump may only seem to be cooler. The air coming from this type of heating system is generally between 80-95°F, which is slightly cooler than your body temperature.
The way to check if it’s actually doing the job is to take a look at your thermostat. If the temperature is rising, and the unit automatically turns off when it reaches the manual setting, you’re okay. If your thermostat doesn’t go up, if your electric heater starts blowing cold air, or if it stops working completely, there are several possible reasons why:
1. It’s weather related.
That means that there is either snow or ice built-up against the unit, since many are located outside; if your heat pump is inside, it may be placed in an uninsulated or drafty area, like and attic, garage, or basement. You should check the area inside for drafts, remove any snow or ice from outdoor units, and set your thermostat a little higher during extreme cold spells.
2. It’s set on ‘cool,’ which means you’re running your air conditioner instead.
Simply switch it to ‘heat,’ and see if that works. If it stays on cool mode, or it continues to blow cold air, either the air filter is dirty/clogged or there’s a mechanical problem.
3. There is a mechanical defect.
This is most likely if the outside condenser is frozen, but the weather isn’t severe, or if you don’t have your system serviced regularly. The refrigerant may be low or there’s a problem with the refrigerant sensor/flow restrictor. There may also be a problem with the compressor valve or the reversing valve.
Any of these scenarios that don’t involve having a pilot light blow out accidentally, that aren’t the result of the wrong setting on your thermostat, or that aren’t due to the obstruction of an outdoor unit by snow or ice, require professional servicing. If you’re experiencing problems with your Overland Park system, don’t panic. We can take care of it!
You can receive fast, affordable HVAC service in your Overland Park, KS home by calling Priced Right Heating and Cooling today at (913) 713-5911.