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Why is my heater blowing cold air? What to do if your heater breaks in winter

Raphael Romero Ruiz
Arizona Republic
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Thousands of Valley homes use gas furnaces and gas water heaters, which are now entering their high-use time of year.

As winter temperatures in Arizona continue to remain in the 40s and 50s, many will want to crank up their heaters to stay comfortable. But for some, heat may not be coming through as it should.

If your heater is blowing cold air, it can be a frustrating and in cold enough temperatures, potentially dangerous situation.

Dealing with a broken heater in the winter can be stressful, but luckily there are steps you can take to stay warm. Keep your curtains and blinds closed to retain heat, and use extra blankets and layers to stay warm.

It's also important to have a plan in place for emergency heating. Keep a space heater on hand, and consider having a backup heating source such as a fireplace or wood stove.

Here's what you need to know in case you find yourself with a broken heater:

More:Rain on tap for metro Phoenix this weekend; snow expected in parts of Arizona

What is a furnace vs. a heater?

You have a couple of options for how to heat up your home, but two of the most popular choices are furnaces and heaters, but what exactly is the difference between the two?

A furnace is a heating system that uses gas, oil, or electricity to heat the air and distribute it throughout your home via ductwork. Furnaces are typically found in homes that have central heating and air conditioning systems. They are designed to heat your entire home and are usually located in the basement, attic or utility room.

On the other hand, a heater is a device that heats a specific area of your home. There are various types of heaters, such as electric heaters, space heaters, and wall heaters. These heaters are designed to heat a specific room or area of your home and can be portable or mounted on the wall.

What to do if your furnace breaks

If you suspect that your furnace is not working properly, the first step is to check the thermostat. Make sure it is set to the correct temperature and that the batteries are working. If the thermostat is not the issue, check to see if the furnace is receiving power and if there is enough fuel in the tank.

If these steps don't resolve the issue, it's best to call in a professional HVAC technician. They will be able to diagnose and fix any problems with your furnace.

How much is a new furnace?

When it comes to replacing your furnace, the cost can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These can include the type of furnace, the size of your home, and the complexity of the installation.

The average cost of a new furnace can range from $2,500 to $7,500; however, the cost can be higher or lower depending on the type of furnace you choose. For example, a standard gas furnace can cost between $2,500 and $5,000, while a high-efficiency furnace can cost between $5,000 and $7,500.

Another factor that can impact the cost of a new furnace is the size of your home. A larger home will require a larger furnace, which can increase the cost. The complexity of the installation can also affect the cost. A simple installation in a home that already has ductwork can cost less than a complex installation that requires new ductwork.

It's important to note that the cost of a new furnace also includes the cost of installation. A professional HVAC technician will be able to give you an accurate estimate for the cost of a new furnace, including installation.

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