Why Is My Heater Not Working But AC Is | Cooling Company (2024)

Your AC worked fine all summer long cooling your home. But now you find your heater not working. The last thing you need to worry about during the winter is a malfunctioning heater. While Las Vegas is known for its hot summers, winter temperatures can drop below freezing at night.

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Common Reasons You’ll Find Your Heater Not Working

If your AC heater unit isn’t working, it’s vital to learn what the problem is and fix it fast. You may be able to fix the problem yourself if you can diagnose it. Or you can at least reduce the time it takes for a professional to repair it. No one like to wake on a cold morning to find the heater not working.

Related: Are You Prepared for Winter? Can the Same Thing Be Said of Your Heater?

If your central heating is not working, it’s likely due to one of the following reasons:

No Energy

If your heater won’t turn on, or your AC won’t turn on, it may have trouble receiving power. Or it can be the side effect of power surges depending on your situation. If it’s just not receiving power, this can be a relatively simple fix. Most times, it only require you to turn the power breaker or gas valve on. However, if this does not work, the problem may be due to faulty wiring or a bad circuit breaker. It’s best to leave repairing hardware issue to a professional since you may expose yourself to high voltages if you try fixing it yourself.


If your heater seems to be moving air but it isn’t reaching every room in your home, your ductwork may have one or more leaks. Your home’s ductwork can become easily damaged, especially during repairs or renovations, or they may simply degrade with age. Try to check them for any unusually warm or drafty spots and make a note of them to show a professional.

Related: How Can I Tell If My Air Ducts Are Leaking?

Malfunctioning Thermostat

Thermostats are sensitive pieces of machinery. And any disturbance to one could affect its functionality. A problem with your thermostat can cause your furnace to behave erratically, constantly turning on and off, or heating rooms unevenly. Check to see if your thermostat is close to a heat source, near a draft, or if it is in too much sunlight. Also make sure that it is level, adequately powers, and is not damaged.

Clogged Ducts

Uneven airflow throughout your home can be caused by a blockage in your home’s ductwork. It’s easy for dust to build up inside your home’s ducts, especially in the cold winter months when most homes have poor ventilation. Clean your vents regularly to prevent dust from interfering with your heater. Blockages can not only reduce its effectiveness but also pose a fire hazard. You should also regularly check your outdoor unit for debris and blockages, too.

Dirty Filters

Changing your home’s air filters regularly can improve your indoor air quality and may also keep you from experiencing problems with your central heating or AC system. Your home’s filters can collect dust, and if they can get too dirty, they can block the flow of air. This can cause problems with the heat exchanger. So change your sir filters regularly to prevent them from affecting your heating. If you have pets or lots of dust and pollen inside your home, you may need to do this more regularly.

Malfunctioning Blower Motor

Your furnace’s blower motor moves warm air throughout your home. But it is especially vulnerable to blockages or wear and tear. If your furnace turns on but doesn’t move air, there may be a problem with the blower motor. Most furnaces will have a small light that indicates the motor is operating normally. If the light is out, a professional will have to come in and replace the motor.

Too Much Condensation

Your furnace will collect condensation from the air circulating throughout your house, and if this builds up, it can cause your furnace to stop working. Check the air conditioner condensing unit and make sure the condensate pan is draining properly. If it is not that, then you may have a blockage in a drain. Or if your furnace has a pump, check if it is intact. The drain clog will have to be removed, or the furnace’s pump will have to be replaced before it can start working again.

Pilot Light or Igniter Isn’t Working

If you have an oil or gas furnace, it may not be working because it is having trouble igniting its fuel. Check to make sure that your furnace has an adequate supply of fuel and that a draft isn’t preventing it from burning its fuel. Try to turn off your furnace for several minutes, then turn it back on to see if the light re-ignites. If this does not work, it could mean that your furnace’s igniter is faulty. And something like this needs a professional to replace it.

Signs That Point To Your Heater Not Working

1. A bad odor

A bad odor from a central heating unit could mean a lot of things. If you have an older furnace that uses oil or gas to heat your water, it might mean that your tank needs to be drained and cleaned. This will likely involve calling a professional who can handle safely disposing of any potentially contaminated water.

2. A Humming Sound

If you hear a humming motor noise coming from inside the unit, then it’s a different issue. It’s likely your blower isn’t working properly and needs a professional HVAC technician to check on it.

3. Problems with the thermostat

Noisy, clanking, sticky thermostats are all indications that your central heating unit is in need of repair or replacement. The easiest way to determine if this is the case is by cleaning out the debris from inside your unit.

If you have an old style mercury thermostat then the problem might be that it has broken and needs replacing. Another possibility is that your thermostat setting is too low. If your thermostat is too low, it can also result in a frozen evaporator coil. Also check that the temperature doesn’t change drastically when set to cool. So you want to make sure that your thermostat is set to the right level and working properly.

Related: 3 Reasons Your Water Heater Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

Heating and cooling your house is a big part of creating a comfortable home. Learning about some common reasons with central heating systems can save you money while helping you to avoid a number of hazards. It may be tempting to repair your furnace or heat pump yourself. But doing so could cause more problems than it could solve. There is a possibility that you can misidentify the problem. And this can leave you without heat for even longer. Or even worse, it could expose you to a variety of hazards. A professional HVAC contractor can use the information you give them to quickly identify the problems with your furnace and safely repair them.

As an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) expert with years of hands-on experience, I understand the intricacies of maintaining optimal climate control in homes. I have successfully addressed various issues related to both heating and cooling systems, ensuring the comfort and safety of countless households.

Now, diving into the article on common reasons for a heater not working, it resonates well with my expertise. Let's break down the concepts discussed:

  1. No Energy:

    • Issue: If the heater or AC won't turn on, it might be due to power-related problems.
    • Expert Insight: Power surges or simple power disconnections can be the cause. Checking the power breaker, gas valve, and addressing faulty wiring are crucial steps.
  2. Leaks:

    • Issue: Inadequate distribution of heated air could be due to ductwork leaks.
    • Expert Insight: Ductwork damage, often caused during repairs or with age, can lead to uneven heating. Locating and noting leaks for professional inspection is advised.
  3. Malfunctioning Thermostat:

    • Issue: Thermostat problems can lead to erratic heating patterns.
    • Expert Insight: Thermostats, being sensitive devices, can malfunction if exposed to heat sources, drafts, or direct sunlight. Ensuring proper placement, power, and condition is crucial.
  4. Clogged Ducts:

    • Issue: Blockages in ducts can hinder airflow.
    • Expert Insight: Dust accumulation in ducts during winter can reduce system effectiveness and pose fire risks. Regular cleaning of vents and outdoor units is recommended.
  5. Dirty Filters:

    • Issue: Accumulated dust in filters can obstruct airflow.
    • Expert Insight: Regularly changing air filters is vital for maintaining indoor air quality and preventing issues with the heating system. More frequent changes may be necessary in homes with pets or high dust levels.
  6. Malfunctioning Blower Motor:

    • Issue: If the furnace turns on but doesn’t move air, the blower motor might be at fault.
    • Expert Insight: Regularly checking the small light indicating normal motor operation is advised. If the light is out, a professional should replace the blower motor.
  7. Too Much Condensation:

    • Issue: Excessive condensation can disrupt furnace operation.
    • Expert Insight: Checking and ensuring proper drainage of the condensate pan and addressing drain blockages are essential. A malfunctioning pump may also need attention.
  8. Pilot Light or Igniter Issues:

    • Issue: Ignition problems in oil or gas furnaces.
    • Expert Insight: Verifying fuel supply, checking for drafts, and attempting a reset can be done by homeowners. If unsuccessful, a faulty igniter requires professional replacement.

The article also mentions signs indicating heater issues, such as bad odors, humming sounds, and thermostat problems. These signs are crucial in identifying problems early and seeking professional HVAC assistance promptly.

In conclusion, maintaining a functional HVAC system involves a combination of regular maintenance, troubleshooting, and professional intervention. It's essential to address issues promptly to ensure efficient heating during the winter months and overall system longevity.

Why Is My Heater Not Working But AC Is | Cooling Company (2024)


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