Electric Heater Blowing Cold Air: Here’s What To Do

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It’s pretty normal for heaters to stop working. But heaters not working and actually blowing cold air on a freezing cold day are two different scenarios.

When it comes to electric heaters blowing cold air, things get serious. It’s like the heater had one job yet it failed. 

Anyway, how to fix an electric heater blowing cold air?

Start by giving the heater some time to warm up and then troubleshooting your thermostat. No problems? Then look for dirty filters and clean out or leaked ducts to fix them. 

Still, blowing cold air? Try replacing your heat sensors or contractor coils  in case  anything went wrong there.

This was an outline but if you want to fix the issue, go through our article as we’ve dived deep into the solutions.

Electric Heater Blowing Cold Air: Problems and Solutions

Troubleshooter 1 of 6: No Time To Warm Up

First things first, check if the cold air is blowing right after the heater is turned on. It’s a natural phenomenon for heaters or air conditioners to blow out room temperature air right after they are turned on.  The machine usually takes time to warm up as the air  travels through the ducts into the surrounding. Hence, most of the time, cold air could come out through the heater right after it’s turned on.

Solution

All you need to do is have patience and let the system warm-up. Eventually, hot air will begin to blow out of it. So don’t end up jumping to conclusions. Give the heater enough time to warm up and your problem shall be fixed. 

Troubleshooter 2 of 6: Thermostat Issues

Now if you still feel cold air gushing out of the heater, there’s a possibility that the thermostat is the culprit here. How? You may ask. 

Firstly the thermostat might be set to a different temperature, which is probably why you’re shivering. 

Or you might’ve accidentally turned the fan on, which is set to blow continuously. This causes the thermostat to blow cold air when the heater is turned off.

If this isn’t the case, well then do check for the batteries because often the thermostat works incorrectly due to dead batteries. 

Solution

Don’t let this scare you, buddy. Thermostat issues are pretty common and you can easily fix them. But make sure to follow the rule of thumb. Which is to set the thermostat temperature higher than the current temperature at your home.

If you see the fan is on, change it to ‘auto’. That should do the work.

Now, look out for a faded display of numbers because then you’ll have to change the batteries as it’s causing your thermostat to malfunction.

By the way, here’s our recommended electric heaters

Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat

Space Heater Electric Heater for Home and Office

Taotronics TT-HE001 Space Heater

Troubleshooter 3 of 6:  Ductwork Issues

You’ll have to get down to your basement to troubleshoot this particular issue.

More often than not, you’ll have to check up on your ductwork. Regular inspection of your ductwork for the heater is just as vital as checking a geothermal loop for proper flow of  hot water. 

Here’s why: There’s a high chance of leaks and tears in ducting. Your ductwork may wear out due to the continuous change in temperature as it is exposed to the cold. Hence, your heater is releasing cold air which is passed on through the duct holes and leaks.

Solution

In this case, you’ll either need to replace your ducts or get them sealed off. Now for a DIY method, you can use high-quality duct tapes or mastic tapes to hold the ducts together. Try cleaning your ducts yearly to avoid such issues. 

We highly recommend inspecting and insulating your ductwork even if leaking ducts isn’t an issue.

Troubleshooter 4 of 6: Heat Sensor Not Working

The heat sensor in your electric heater makes sure the heater produces heat. So you could say, it’s the heart of the entire heating system. For instance, when your heater has heated your home as per the thermostat, the heat sensor turns off the blower fan.  

Now if your heat sensor isn't working, it'll not turn off the blower fan causing the heater to continue and blow out cold air.

Solution

Keep your thermostat temperature and air temperature on a constant check. You’ll need to replace the sensor if the temperatures show differently. Replace it with the help of an HVAC technician. 

Troubleshooter 5 of 6: Dirty Filter

If you've been lazy about cleaning your heater, you might notice dirt stuck in your filters. 

Are you baffled by the fact that a dirty filter could cause an electric heater blowing cold air? Well, the blocked filter basically stops the hot air from passing, which eventually does not warm up the room.

A dirty filter may seem like a small issue but it literally causes your heater to function improperly just like how a burned pot full of debris causes a pellet stove blowing smoke in the house.

Solution

Clean the filters to remove the dirt. Sounds easy? Not so much. 

In case of  permanent filters, you’ll have to go through the manual’s instructions to clean up the filters. But if you prefer to go down the DIY route, it could be a little tough. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Open your cabinet and look for the coil. Mark the place with a white paint or primer once you’ve located it. Because you’ll need to unbolt them and slide them out. Once you’ve done that, vacuum the coils and cabinet to remove debris using a vacuum hose.

Caution: While you clean, make sure your heater is turned off

Troubleshooter 6 of 6: Contractor coil issues

Electric heaters and all heaters use electric resistance heating coils. Electric coils burning out is a common issue these days. It could happen due to power surges or may wear out naturally. The heater would still run but you’ll only get cold air out of it. 

Solution

The only fix to this issue is replacing the coils. You can do it yourself or can take help from an HVAC technician. 

If one coil is out, try replacing all of them because eventually all of them will stop functioning. 

Caution: Make sure the circuit to the heater is turned off to avoid any accidents. Lock the box for extra safety.

FAQs

Question: Why is my heat pump blowing cold air when the heat is on?
Answer: As the heat is released via the outdoor unit, it melts the ice formations usually difficult to remove manually. The defrost mode helps to remove this ice but it’s the same as the cooling mode. Hence, it blows out cold air.

Question: What causes heater sooting?
Answer: The black color or soot around the walls of the electric heater are not caused by the heater itself but by other issues such as burning candles, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Question: Can a faulty thermostat affect the heater?
Answer: A faulty thermostat can result in a rapid cycle as the heater turns on and off multiple times. Lot of energy is lost in this process.

Conclusion 

That was all from our side. Now that you have a good understanding regarding electric heaters blowing cold air, you should be near to an expert while facing and fixing any of these issues. 

So, you can enjoy your cozy morning coffee by your heater without being bugged by it.
Scott Kelly