The Cold War: Why Is My Heater Blowing Cold Air?

The Cold War: Why Is My Heater Blowing Cold Air?

What sends a chill down your spine? For some of us, it’s watching a scary movie all alone late at night. For others, it’s a lengthy kiss from that special someone. (And let’s face it, for some of us, it’s totally both.) One thing that should never give you those spine-tingling chills is your heater. If yours isn’t keeping you warm and cozy this winter, read on!

Let’s see if we can help you locate the culprit and return those chills to the proper realm of horror films and hot dates.

Stat-us Check!

We’ll start with the most obvious suspect: your thermostat. These suggestions might sound like no-brainers, but please, just humor us. You’d be surprised how many times a client has called in professional help for one of these very simple fixes.

First, make sure the thermostat’s setting is higher than the current temperature in your home. We’ve seen this issue a number of times — the thermostat is located in a narrow hallway, and someone has bumped into it and dialed it down, or you and your partner, housemate or children are having a passive-aggressive war on how warm the house should be.

The problem might even be the location of the thermostat. If, for example, it’s upstairs in an enclosed space, the air right around it could indeed be reaching the set temperature, but downstairs, in your big open-plan kitchen, you’re not feeling the heat.

Next, make sure the thermostat is set to “Auto” rather than “On.” The “On” setting will keep the fan blowing no matter what, even after the house has reached the desired temperature, and the air no longer needs to be heated. Finally, check your batteries, if your thermostat runs on them. Dead or dying batteries can cause the thermostat to malfunction and affect the air temperature.

Pilot Season

If you’ve got a gas furnace, the next thing you’ll want to check is your pilot light.

If it’s gone out, you’ll need to relight it. (If you don’t know how to do this safely, there are a number of good online tutorials.) If it won’t light, make sure there is gas flowing to it and that the valve switch is on. If the pilot light is dirty, clean the opening and try again. If it won’t stay lit, the problem is most likely with the thermocouple, in which case it’s time to seek professional assistance.

Get Your Ducts in a Row

Your thermostat and pilot light have checked out; where else could the issue be? It’s time to start looking up — head into your attic or crawlspace and (carefully!) inspect your ductwork.

If there’s a leak here, that explains why the warm air from your heater isn’t reaching you. Leaks happen for a variety of reasons, including normal wear and tear over time. If this is the issue, it’s another one that’s going to require assistance from your HVAC professional.

While we’ve listed the most common issues above, a number of other factors, including the size of your heater, your fuel source, and various other electrical or mechanical components could be causing you problems. We strongly recommend checking off the items above first, as many of them are quick and easy fixes. And if you’re still feeling those unpleasant chills down your spine, give your HVAC professional a call!

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