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Why Won’t My Gas Furnace Work When the Power Is Out?

When a power outage occurs, we can rely on a few systems to continue running, such as phones. However, modern gas furnaces won’t provide you with heat when the power shuts off because they contain a number of electrical components. Although this loss of heating is inconvenient, the electrical systems inside a gas furnace are important for the safe operation of the furnace: you wouldn’t want to be without them during times when the furnace is running.

We’ll explain in more detail why most gas furnaces will not work during a power outage. If you need help keeping your furnace in Swain County, NC running safely and effectively, call on Premier Indoor Comfort Systems and our trained and EPA-certified technicians.

The Electrical Side of a Gas Furnace

The main electrical system that will prevent a furnace from turning on if the power fails is the electrical igniter. These ignition systems have started to replace the old-fashioned pilot light as the method for starting the burners. They are safer and more reliable than pilot lights. (Please, please, do not try to use a match or a lighter to ignite the burners on your own if the electrical ignition goes out. This is extremely dangerous.)

A key electrical component in your gas furnace that monitors safety is the gas valve. This valve closes off the flow of gas in the main pipeline into the furnace so it will not flood the combustion chamber and risk an explosion. The valve is electrically charged when open, so if the power should go out, the valve will automatically close to prevent further gas flow. This is definitely a system you want protecting you should there be a power failure.

Two other important components that require electricity are the blower fan motor and the digital thermostat. Loss of the thermostat means you cannot control the furnace, and the loss of the blower means no air will go anywhere.

What You Can Do About Your Furnace in a Power Outage

If the furnace is your only electrical concern during an outage, portable generators can hook up to the furnace to supply sufficient power to run the required electrical systems. You should consult with an HVAC technician to see how to make the connections since generators can be fire hazards if used incorrectly.

Make certain that the electrical systems in your furnace are all working properly with regular maintenance. During an annual visit, a technician will test the electrical components in your furnace to make sure they are doing their job and keeping you safe. 

Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to schedule maintenance, or for any urgent repairs you need for your furnace in Swain County, NC.

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