Furnace Issues: Common Causes When It Blows Cold Air
Your furnace has one simple, important job – it is supposed to blow warm air throughout your home. Here in central MD, it’s like we’ve skipped straight from summer to winter this year… so heating your home may be as important this winter season as it’s been in years. You engage your home’s gas or oil furnace during the colder parts of the year to keep your home at a comfortable temperature day and night. It’s easy to get used to having the thermostat keep you right at 68*, or whatever temperature you happen to like. But what happens when you click the furnace on and only get cold air? A few potential causes could be at the heart of the matter.
Thermostat Set Improperly
When you feel cold air coming out of your vents, and you are expecting warm air, it’s natural to assume that something is wrong with your furnace. That might turn out to be the case, but don’t jump immediately to that conclusion. First, start by checking on the thermostat settings to make sure you are actually asking the furnace to produce warm air. One common mistake is setting the thermostat fan to ‘On’, which will just cause the fan to blow without bringing the heat you desire. It’s best to check on your thermostat first before exploring other issues.
Air Filter is Clogged
Did you even know that your furnace has an air filter? Some homeowners never do get to know the way their home works, and as such, they miss out on important maintenance points. You should be changing your air filter on a periodic basis to make sure air can flow freely into the furnace. If the filter is particularly clogged, the furnace won’t get the air it needs, and it may overheat. It could be that all that needs to be done to restore the flow of warm air is to change out the air filter, which is an affordable fix.
Let’s assume for a moment that your furnace is doing a good job of producing warm air. That’s great – but you might not feel that warm air coming into your home if it is being lost out of the ducts. Leaky ducts are a significant problem for an HVAC system, and are particularly common in older homes. A duct inspection is the best way to figure out if you are losing your warm air before it ever gets distributed into the living areas of the house.
Newer oil and gas furnace systems tend to operate with an electronic ignition, and while these are quite reliable, it is possible that this part of the unit will malfunction. Obviously, if the furnace is not able to ignite correctly, it is not going to be able to create the warm air you need to keep your house comfortable. Of course, repairing a faulty ignition is not something you should take on by yourself, as this is a technical job that could be dangerous if approached incorrectly. Bring in a licensed and trained professional to examine the furnace and make the appropriate repairs.