Why is My Heater Blowing Cold Air?

Compared to some other Californian towns, Simi Valley has pretty mild winters, most of which have bright and sunny days. When the sun goes down and the temperature dips, you know you need a reliable heater to stay warm. So how come your heating system is blowing out cold air when you turn it on? Let’s start with the basics.
Hands near a heating system.

Adjust the Thermostat

If you want to know why your electric heater is blowing cold air, turn first to your thermostat. In most cases, the thermostat is the main culprit of a chilly home. Modern thermostats have two fan settings: auto and on. When the thermostat fan is set to “on,” it will circulate air continuously regardless of whether the heater is running or not. This will push cool air through the vents.

Simply adjust the thermostat fan setting to “auto,” and you’ll no longer feel cool air being pumped into the room. This is a simple solution as to why your electric heater is blowing cold air.

Also, consider the following questions:

  • Does your thermostat run on batteries? If so, check to make sure the batteries are not weak or dead.
  • Do you own a programmable thermostat? It’s possible that your thermostat is programmed incorrectly or accidentally adjusted. Check your thermostat settings.
  • Is someone going behind your back and changing the thermostat temperature when you’re not looking? It happens more than you realize! Check to see if your thermostat is being set by someone else.

Change the Air Filter

When’s the last time you changed your air filters? If the answer is last season, last year, or, worst of all, unknown, it’s time to take care of this small maintenance task ASAP!

Air filters perform the important function of trapping dust and debris from entering the heater, keeping the internal working mechanisms clean and efficient. Over time, the air filter will get saturated with pollutants and block the airflow. If the warm air is trapped inside your heater, the system can overheat and automatically shut down to prevent further damage. Ultimately, your heater will stop working and give you the cold shoulder.

So, why is your heater blowing cold air? A dirty air filter could have been the culprit all along. It might feel like you have switched on your air conditioner instead of your heater with this problem.

Bottom line: Change your air filters as directed! Seriously! Standard filters are included with our bi-annual maintenance.

Check the Breaker

Whether your heater runs on gas, oil, or electricity doesn’t matter — all heating systems need to be plugged in to actually work. Therefore, a tripped circuit breaker can shut down the system and leave you freezing cold. Thankfully, this is an easy fix!

Do keep in mind that if your circuit breaker trips too often, you may have an electrical issue that needs inspecting. Luckily, we handle both HVAC and electrical services for you!

Are all of the above factors working just fine? Then, it’s time to consider other options.

Examine the Flame Sensor

Your gas furnace’s flame sensor has a crucial job. The flame sensor determines if the burner creates enough warmth and helps heat the air circulating through your home’s ducts. However, if the flame sensor is dirty, it won’t be able to tell if your burner is working properly. In the worst-case scenario, it may even stop the burners from igniting as a safety precaution.

If you have a dirty flame sensor, there’s a good chance you’re asking yourself, “Why is my heater blowing cold air?” It might not be that your furnace blows cold air, but instead that the lack of heat leads to cold air circulating throughout your home.

You’ve Got a Leak

Most homes do, actually! Studies have shown that between 20 to 40 percent of heat is lost in the air duct system. This occurs when the ducts have small openings that allow air to leak out. Follow these steps to check for a duct leak, then call an expert HVAC technician to perform a professional inspection if you suspect something is wrong.
If your electric heater is blowing cold air, it’s never a bad idea to get an expert opinion!

Inspect the Condensate Line

Have you noticed water pooling around the outside of your furnace? If so, it’s time to check your condensate line. If you have a high-efficiency furnace, the drain line works to empty the condensation these systems create.

However, if this line gets blocked, the overflow kill switch will prompt your furnace to shut off. This switch is there to prevent water damage, but the sudden lack of heat may be why you’re asking why your heater is blowing cold air.

If your furnace has shut down, your vents may only blow cold air, especially if the thermostat is still turned on. So, it’s not necessarily your electric heater blowing cold air, but a lack of heat in general. If this is the case, it’s time for a professional Santa Clarita heater repair.

The Pilot Light Shut Off

Almost every furnace has a pilot light, which is essentially the flame used to ignite the gas burners that kickstart the heating cycle. If this light were to go out, your furnace would not be able to produce heat. It should actually completely shut down to prevent gas from filling up the system and leaking into the room.

Relighting a pilot light is pretty simple if you know your way around a furnace. All you have to do is:

  • Turn the furnace off.
  • Turn the pilot light reset switch to “off.”
  • Wait a few minutes.
  • Turn the pilot light reset switch to “pilot” and, while pressing down, use a lighter to reignite the pilot light flame.
  • Turn the pilot light reset switch to “on.”
  • Turn the furnace on.

However, if you do not have experience with HVAC systems or you’re not comfortable igniting the pilot light yourself, do not attempt this!

RR Electric, Heating & Air has trained professionals who are more than happy to assist you with such a task. All you have to do is call and ask!

Your Furnace Is Getting Old

Do you know the age of your current heater? The older your furnace gets, the more susceptible it becomes to malfunctions.

Furnaces typically have a lifespan of up to 15 years. Maintenance can help keep your furnace running smoothly, but even if you schedule regular tune-ups, old age can get the best of your system. If parts of your furnace can’t perform correctly, the system may overheat. In particular, you may start to experience problems with your gas supply pipe or burner.

There’s an Internal Issue

Have you checked for these potential problems but are still asking yourself, “why is my heater blowing cold air?” Unfortunately, not all problems are as easy to diagnose as a broken thermostat or a nosy family member jeopardizing everyone else’s comfort.

Sometimes, your best option is to call for professional help. Experienced HVAC technicians know both heating and air conditioning systems, making them capable of determining why your heater is blowing cold air.

Luckily, your friends at RR Electric, Heating & Air are available for heating repairs, replacements, and maintenance in the Simi Valley area and beyond. While cold air in Santa Clarita isn’t always a problem, it’s something no homeowner should have to shiver through. Contact us today for more information about our services!