Even though the worst of the winter season hasn’t arrived just yet, odds are likely that it’s still quite chilly where you are — that is, if you live in an area that experiences cold fall and winter months. If you’re in one of these areas, then you already know how important it is for your home’s heating system to be operating as efficiently as possible to keep your family warm and comfortable.
When your furnace isn’t working as expected, you’re going to both feel it and hear about it. Your home will feel cold and drafty, and your family will be asking you what’s wrong with the furnace and how quickly the problem can be fixed so they can be cozy once again without having to bundle up in blankets, sweatshirts, gloves, and so on.
If you’ve noticed that your home doesn’t feel as comfortable as it should — even with your furnace running — the problem could be that it’s not blowing out warm air. This is a common problem heating systems face, and fortunately, there are a few simple troubleshooting tips that most homeowners can handle on their own without having to call in a professional.
Check out our list of the three most common causes of this problem and how to troubleshoot the issue.
Troubleshooting tip #1: Check your thermostat’s settings.
If you’ve noticed that your home feels much cooler inside than normal, the first thing to do is check if your thermostat is properly set. It’s not uncommon for a thermostat to accidentally get bumped or adjusted, or switched from “HEAT” to “COOL” or “OFF,” especially if you have little ones with curious hands.
Be sure that your thermostat is set to “HEAT,” and check to see if the temperature is properly set at what your family is comfortable with. Also, this is a good time to make sure that the batteries in your device are still usable and not in need of replacement (that is, if your thermostat operates on batteries). If your device is powered by electricity, you can remove the unit from the wall and do a visual inspection for any damage to wiring. If you detect any issues, contact an electrician for assistance.
Troubleshooting tip #2: Replace your air filter.
Many homeowners forget to swap out their furnace’s filter on a regular basis. It’s recommended to replace it monthly during the peak of the heating season. Your filter’s job is to trap airborne pollutants like allergens, hair, pet dander, etc. and prevent them from being pushed through the ducts in your home with the warm air generated by your furnace.
As time passes, the filter naturally becomes full of dirt and dust. When this happens and you don’t change the filter out routinely, your heating system has to work extra hard to push warm air through. This doesn’t just lead to excessively high energy bills, but it can also lead to premature wear and tear on your unit. In turn, this may result in a heater that can’t efficiently warm your home.
Not just that, but a clogged and dirty filter could cause problems for your home’s indoor air quality. This could lead to health issues for anyone in your family who suffers from respiratory problems like asthma, headaches, sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms nobody wants to deal with!
Troubleshooting tip #3: Clear your vents.
Often, furnaces run into issues when they need to work overtime to try and move enough warm air into a home to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat. If vents and/or returns are blocked by furniture, rugs, curtains, toys, etc., conditioned air traveling through your ducts can’t be pushed out into your rooms. As a result, this puts extra strain on your unit. When it can’t take in enough air to operate correctly, it also won’t be able to push enough warm air out to keep your family warm and comfortable.
Blocked vents can also lead to unevenly warmed areas throughout your home. Sometimes, a vent may be blocked in just one room and not in others — causing this room to be much colder than the rest of the home. Walk through each room in your home and check all vents to be sure they’re not blocked and restricting air flow — and make sure they aren’t covered in dust!
To help make sure your family stays warm and toasty all season long, schedule an annual maintenance appointment for your home’s heater. During a yearly tune-up, a professional technician will be able to check for potential problems that could eventually lead to a breakdown of the unit. Also, he or she will thoroughly clean the inside components of the system to ensure they’re free of dust or dirt build-up. And most importantly, the technician will also check for any potential safety issues, such as a natural gas or carbon monoxide (CO) leak.