Furnace problems are always a pain, and when they occur during the freezing Grand Rapids, MI winter, they’re especially inconvenient. Even if you’re proactive about caring for your heating system, many types of mechanical problems can show up unexpectedly. One common symptom that something isn’t right with your furnace is the appliance blowing cold air rather than hot. This issue, which can be caused by several underlying ailments, can make your home an extremely uncomfortable place. Here, we’ll examine a handful of the most common causes for this frustrating problem and a few simple troubleshooting methods that you can try.
1. Malfunctioning Pilot Light
If you have a gas-powered furnace in your home, it creates heat by combusting fuel. For that process to happen, the furnace’s pilot light needs to ignite the burners. When the pilot light isn’t working properly, it can result in the appliance circulating cold air. When it’s running smoothly, the pilot light on your furnace should be a solid blue flame. If the flame is flickering, a different color, or not lit at all, it tells you that something isn’t right. If you suspect that your pilot light is having a problem, you should schedule an appointment with our team at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling. Our technicians will inspect your furnace, including your pilot light, and figure out the best solution if there is an issue with it.
2. Clogged Furnace Filter
If you want to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, replacing the air filter regularly is an absolute must. The air filter has the job of catching airborne pollutants as the appliance cycles air. However, that filter can only hold so many contaminant particles before it becomes clogged, which can cause several significant problems for your furnace. One of those problems is that the system’s airflow becomes restricted, which worsens its performance and efficiency and can cause it to overheat. When your furnace overheats, it can commonly start circulating cold air. If you’re experiencing this issue with your furnace, switching out the air filter for a clean one is a prudent troubleshooting option. Ideally, you should continue replacing your furnace filters at least once every couple of months throughout the year.
3. Thermostat Issue
Sometimes, your furnace blowing cold air can be caused by something as simple as a thermostat issue. When something like this occurs, the thermostats could be having trouble properly sending signals to your HVAC system. Alternately, the thermostat could be sending the wrong signals to your HVAC system. Both of these situations could result in cold air blowing when you have the heater running and the system should be blowing warm air. At Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, our technicians can come out to your home, inspect your thermostat, and if necessary, recalibrate or replace it.
4. Leaky Air Ducts
Have you had your household ductwork cleaned or inspected recently? If you haven’t, then your air ducts could potentially be harboring leaks, which could be the reason for your furnace issues. Whenever the heat is on in your home, your furnace is cycling air through the ductwork, but if there are openings in the ducts, they could be allowing significant amounts of warm air to escape before it can heat your home. Even if your heating system is functioning properly, the majority of its warm air could be getting lost due to leaky air ducts resulting in most or all of the air that does reach you will be cool or at room temperature.
Every two or three years, it’s important to have your air ducts cleaned and inspected by professionals. By clearing out the dust, dirt, mold, and small debris that can accumulate inside the ductwork, the technicians can help your HVAC system to run more smoothly and efficiently. If they find any leaks, they can make the needed repairs and get your furnace back on track.
5. Dirty Flame Sensors
Some types of household furnaces don’t use pilot lights. Instead, they use devices called flame sensors to ensure that enough heat is produced. With consistent use of a furnace with flame sensor, they can sometimes become covered various debris, such as dirt or dust. If a flame sensor is not able to proper detect the presence of a flame in your unit, it will stop the furnace from producing hot air entirely as a safety feature to prevent potential danger posed by an unregulated flame. As a result, your HVAC system may continue blowing air, but it’s likely to be cold or intermittently cold and hot instead of producing a steady stream of hot air like you would expect if your flame sensor was properly functioning. If you suspect that your flame sensor is not functioning properly, our team at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling will be happy to assist you by sending out a qualified technician to assess the status of your flame sensor and clear away any debris that may be preventing it from functioning.
6. Clogged Condensate Drain Lines
If you have a modern furnace, it may be equipped with condensate drain lines. These lines remove moisture from the HVAC system. However, much of the moisture that passes through these lines can contain substances like dust and dirt, which can can potentially lead to obstructions from said debris, resulting in your furnace’s condensate drain lines becoming clogged. When accumulated moisture is no longer being properly drained from the system, it typically leads to the furnace’s burners being shut off. So, although the appliance may continue cycling air through your living space, there won’t be any heat. If you schedule an appointment with our team at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we’ll thoroughly clean your system’s condensate lines and get the furnace back to peak performance.
7. Gas Supply Issue
Sometimes, a furnace blowing cold air doesn’t actually have anything to do with the furnace itself. For example, if a problem arises with the gas line in your home, your gas-powered furnace will no longer be capable of producing heat. So, even if it continues to blow air throughout your household, it will be much colder than you’re expecting. If you have any other appliances in your home that use natural gas, you may want to check whether or not they’re having problems. If it turns out that your natural gas line is the source of your furnace issue, you’ll likely want to enlist the services of local gas line repair technicians.
At Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we’ve been faithfully serving the Grand Rapids area since 1961. When you need reliable heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality, or geothermal services, our skilled technicians are always up to the task. Our goal is complete customer satisfaction, and over the years, we’ve built a reputation for world-class service. Contact us at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling today if you’d like to schedule an appointment!