Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

Open Gas FurnaceOne of the most common furnace problems reported each winter by Framingham-area homeowners is a furnace that seems to be blowing cold air.

There could be a variety of reasons your furnace is blowing cold air and they range from very simple to quite complex.Here are some of the most common causes of this problem.

It’s Normal.

If the air coming out of your vents is only cold when it turns on but heats up after a few seconds, this is normal operation.

For example, when you turn on a hot water faucet, it takes a little time for the hot water travel from the water heater to the spout. In the same way, when your furnace turns on, it must clear out the cold air already in your vents.

Your Fan is Set to “On.”

Many Framingham-area residents turn on their heating system for the winter and then notice they are being treated to a constant flow of cool air. This isn’t a problem with your furnace – it’s your thermostat.

Make sure your fan is set to “auto” rather than “on”. “Auto” will only turn on your fan when your furnace is running. “On” will keep your fan running at all times (or until turned off.)

Your Pilot Light is Out.

For homeowners with older gas furnaces, a furnace that only blows cold air can be a sign that the pilot light has gone out. Re-light the pilot light to solve the problem.

If the pilot keeps going out, contact a heating professional – your furnace may need some routine cleaning.

The Flame Sensor is Dirty.

Another common complaint is furnaces that turn on and begin heating but then the air turns cold again very quickly. Most of the time this is a dirty flame sensor that is not allowing your furnace’s burner to remain lit.

Get a heating professional to clean the sensor. This is one of the reasons annual furnace maintenance is so important.

It’s More Technical.

Your furnace is a gas appliance with many moving parts. The items above are the most common, but there are many other things that can cause your furnace to blow cold air, such as a bad ignitor or malfunction on the circuit board.

If you need further help diagnosing the reason your furnace seems to be blowing cold air, contact a Framingham-area heating company like Nicholson HVAC.

Our level of commitment to our customer and superior service is the reason you can find comfort in choosing Nicholson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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  • Francis from Nicholson Plumbing and Heating was excellent. He was here to evaluate HVAC in our home. He was very patient and answered all my questions. He is also polite and easy to communicate with him. He explained technical concepts to me in layperson terms!

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  • Nicholson offered what is possibly the best customer service I have dealt with in a home repair situation.  I called them because I was looking to replace my very old furnace.  They came out to do an initial estimate, and then came back when I had some further questions about my options.  After installing the furnace, they ran into some problems with my air ducts.  This happened on a Friday, and the problem was fixed by Monday afternoon.  In addition to their excellent service, they did quality work at a fair price.  I would recommend them to anyone looking for an HVAC company in the Framingham area!

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  • Recently used these guys because my HVAC unit AC wasn’t working (first hot day of summer).  Showed up on time, wore booties, fixed the unit.  During the visit we talked about how my unit was having problems in the winter – which was resulting in NSTAR service calls of maybe 3-4 times per season (I am on a service plan with them).   He was the first guy to tell me WHY the problem was happening, and HOW to fix it.  I find it strange that all of the NSTAR guys etc. no one took time to point out how to fix the source of the problem…Very professional, smart.  I would use them again, and plan to for the fix on my heating unit!

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