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3 Reasons Your Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air During Phoenix Winters.

image of bathroom ceiling and walls by medicine cabinet where air vents of cold air blowing is visible along with lighting and mirror surprise az home owner

During the winters here in Phoenix, the weather is pretty amazing. When you think about it, few things put a damper on it. For one, energy costs drop as soon as the temperatures do. Until the heat wave returns, some people don’t even worry about their HVAC system as they rarely use their heaters at all! But the perk of minimal usage can backfire on a property owner if a furnace is blowing cold air when they need it the most.

Heating Problems Often Occur During Freezing Nights.

Even though the Arizona climate is pretty fair, it does get rather nippy at times. Waiting on repairs or a furnace replacement can be quite the inconvenience when you’re not prepared. While it doesn’t stay cold for long here, and a majority of HVAC companies can get you up and running in no time, avoiding any type of setback is the way to go.

In other words, if you want a heating system to keep you comfortable on sub-freezing nights, then you have to maintain it. You can’t grumble or be too cold hearted about avoidable outcomes when you don’t. If you want to learn from these situations so they don’t happen again, then grab a coat, maybe some mittens, and let’s solve this together.

canyon state heating installation technician repairing duct work during furnace installation in peoria az captured by prefocus solutions photographer

What Can Cause a Furnace to Blow Cold Air?

No matter how simple the issue may seem, there are several reasons why a furnace is blowing cold air during Phoenix winters. With that being said, the first thing you’ll want to do is run through a few determining factors before settling on next steps. Here are some questions that should help:

  1. Is the air blowing cold all the time or just sometimes? 
  2. Do you own an electric or gas-powered system? 
  3. How long have you owned the heating system?
  4. Does it have a warranty or troubleshooting hotline? 
  5. When was the last time you had a tune up or HVAC inspection?

In most cases, these questions will help you find viable help. For example, if you just paid for a tune up, then you might want to give the company you hired a call. If the furnace is over 10 years old, then a new unit may be in order. This is because a repair (or repeat, temporary solutions) may cost you more money over time. 

Figuring out what’s wrong is obviously important – but making sure don’t make things worse is key. If you’ve reviewed the owner’s manual and checked everything out yourself and still can’t figure out what to do, then it’s best to call a professional. A home heater that’s blowing cold air may seem like an easy fix, but it’s not worth the risk.

kyle and james of canyon state with safety gear during cooling and heating system inspection in west phoenix az captured by prefocus solutions

Understanding Gas/Electric Heating Systems.

Before you can really zero in on the culprit, you have to understand how the furnace operates. In case you were unaware, an electric heating system is not going to have the same warning sign as a gas operating heater. So, you want to be sure you’re checking for the proper potential problems before making any conclusions. 

A newer electric furnace, for instance, isn’t going to have a pilot light. Even though some of the older models were manufactured with a flame feature, more recent systems simply come with an electronic ignition. Looking for something like this can waste a lot of time. Only gas-powered heaters blow cold air because the pilot light is burned out.


  • Gas heating systems require the use of natural gas or propane fuel that enters into the combustion chamber for ignition and heat energy generation.
  • Electric heating systems are powered the same way as all other electric appliances and the plugged in power warms its heating elements.
canyon state top installer lead kyle preparing hvac system for complete renovation in peoria arizona with company van in background power drill in hand

Why Is Cold Air Coming Out of Your Vents?

Unlike space heaters and window or wall units, warmed air from a gas or electric furnace is blown through a property’s ducts and registers. Once you know what you’re working with, you can then begin to figure out why the furnace is blowing cold air. Here are some additional things to inspect before calling a specialist.

1. How Long is the Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

If your furnace is circulating colder air only for the first few minutes of operation, it likely just needs some time to warm up before the temperature begins to rise. Just remember, when use is minimal and it’s cold outside, you can’t expect on-demand heating. Most Arizona properties only need the furnace to come on a few times a day – so give it some time.

At the same time, if you’ve had your system for a few years and this suddenly occurs, then it’s probably something you won’t want to ignore. The same goes for those that feel as though the problem is getting worse. When the furnace is not blowing hot air at all, then there is clearly a bigger issue that you’ll want to check out.

close up black and white photo of arizona home thermostat analog controller for heating and cooling property for blog about furnace blowing cold air

2. Investigate The Property’s Thermostat Settings.

When it comes to HVAC repairs, one of the most common culprits we find are altered temperature settings. Whether someone is messing with their spouse, your in-laws are in town or the kids are pushing buttons again; thermostats can create quite the household stir. Knobs are known to be locked to the wrong settings – so double check. If it’s set to “fan”, for example, then your furnace will blow cold air.

3. Did You Know HVAC System Clogs Were a “Thing”?

Believe it or not, various features of the furnace can become clogged. Because of minimal use and the dusty desert air in Phoenix, blockages can most certainly occur. Air filters, heating lines, and valves that are full with dirt, dust, debris, and other air particles can no longer function correctly. 

This results in what’s called: inefficient heat production. This essentially limits the tools required to warm the property. In turn, your furnace only blows cold air. Sometimes a simple cleaning will take care of the issue. Other times the installation of new replacement parts is required. Either way, better upkeep is essential.

arizona house maintained by hvac professionals at canyon state ac heating attik clean and safe for residents improving air quality and overall comfort

4. Impact of Wear and Tear or Physical Damages.

If you’re like most Phoenix homeowners, chances are your furnace is located in a hard to reach space. The attic, crawl space or garage are common places for installation. But it does not mean the equipment isn’t damaged or doesn’t experience wear and tear.  Even though there’s a low probability, you should always start with a visual inspection of your heating system. Assuming there isn’t anything wrong with it is lazy.

A quick lookover (even if you have to use a flashlight) is easy peasy. If you don’t see any physical damage, try to remember how old it is. Although it’d be great if our heaters would last forever, these appliances wear down over time. If your heating system is 10-15 years old, it’s a reasonable idea to replace it before it only blows cold air.

How to Get Hot Air From Your Furnace Again:

If your winter heating problem is something as simple as a thermostat setting, this is an easy flip of a switch. However, if it’s a more extensive issue, it’s best to not go about the solution alone. Calling in the professionals allows you to eliminate stress on top of potential setbacks. The last thing you want to do is maximize the cost and the issue. 

These systems are not only complex, but they can be dangerous to work on if you’re not sure what you’re looking at. At Canyon State, we take pride in hiring certified technicians that understand how HVAC systems are built and how they work

When your furnace is blowing cold air during Phoenix winters, there’s no reason you ought to feel like you need to figure it out on your own. While most service companies look for profitable opportunities, we’re looking to build relationships. Like any other business, trust from your customers is far more important than anything else.  


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