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Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up in the middle of the night to a cold house or turning your furnace on for the first time in the season only to feel cold air blowing back at you. Maybe you just had your furnace on the day before, so why would it all of a sudden not work?

There are several reasons why your furnace would blow cold air, so we’ve created this handy guide to help you troubleshoot some of the most common issues. Are you getting uncomfortably cold and don’t want to waste time trying to fix it yourself? Give WM Buffington a call and we’ll have your furnace back up and running in no time!

Incorrect Thermostat Setting

If your furnace is not working, your first instinct may be to assume the worst. However, most problems are often the result of minor issues that can be resolved quickly and easily. If your furnace is blowing cold air, the first thing you should do is check the thermostat. Make sure that it’s actually set to “heat” and your fan is on “auto”. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you never know if someone else in the house may have changed the settings without you knowing it. 

Keep in mind that when you first turn your furnace on, it will usually blow cold air until it has a chance to warm up. Give it a couple of minutes, and if it’s still blowing cold air, try something else. 

Pilot Light Has Gone Out

Older furnaces rely on a pilot light to ignite burners and create heat. Sometimes, that pilot light can go out if there’s a problem with the gas supply, dirt on the thermocouple, or even a burst of cool air. If you find that your pilot light is out, refer to your furnace’s instruction manual to learn how to properly re-ignite it. 

Dirty Furnace Filter

If it’s been quite a while since you replaced your furnace filter, it can eventually become so dirty that it restricts airflow. When this happens, the furnace will run longer to heat your home. This now only causes higher heating bills, but it can cause your furnace to overheat. 

Furnaces have safety features that prevent them from getting too hot. If your furnace has a clogged filter then it will likely blow warm air, and then cold air, and eventually it will automatically shut off. If this is what seems to be happening with your furnace, try replacing the filter to see if it resolves the issue. 

Faulty Ignitor 

Most modern furnaces use an ignitor instead of a pilot light to start up the burner. Unfortunately, ignitors can sometimes fail - either because of age, or another issue such as a power surge. Without the ignitor to create a spark and ignite the gas, your furnace will just be blowing cold air.

Insufficient Gas

In order to warm the air that is blown throughout the ductwork in your home, furnaces need fuel to burn. Gas is the most popular form of fuel, and it is sourced from either natural gas or propane. If you happen to have a problem with your gas supply, your burner won’t be able to turn on. This can happen if there is an issue with the natural gas supply line, or if you happen to run out of propane. If you have run out of propane, all you have to do is refill your tank, but if there’s a problem with your natural gas line, you’ll need to call in a professional. 

Dirty Burner

Just as with everything else in your home, your furnace burner can accumulate dust over time. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, a burner can become so dirty that it fails to ignite. Fortunately, this problem can usually be fixed with a thorough cleaning.

Furnace Still Not Working? Call in a Professional!

Furnaces always seem to malfunction at the worst possible time, and you don’t want to have to spend a lot of time trying to troubleshoot what might be the issue. If your furnace is blowing cold air, making strange noises, or not turning on at all, give us a call! We install and service all types of gas and oil furnaces. 

Call WM Buffington and let us know how we can help!  

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