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Help! My Furnace Won’t Turn On

Mar 03, 2020

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One of the most frustrating problems you can face during a cold winter is a furnace not turning on. Besides causing a cold and uncomfortable home, a malfunctioning furnace can also lead to a number of other problems. These include frozen water lines and a build-up of condensation.

Because of this, if you find that your furnace won’t turn on you’re going to want to get the problem resolved quickly. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to troubleshoot the issue and get your furnace back up and running.

Here are the five most common reasons a furnace won’t turn on and how to fix them.

The Pilot Light Has Gone Out

If you have an older furnace it likely utilizes a pilot light, and if it doesn’t stay lit your furnace won’t turn on. There are a few reasons why a pilot light might go out.

The first thing you should check is the thermocouple, which is a copper rod that’s heated up by the pilot light. When the thermocouple reaches the correct temperature gas is released to the burners. When this piece isn’t working properly or becomes loose it may prevent the pilot light from coming on. If this is the case you’ll need to call a professional to repair it.

The next thing you should look at is the orifice where the pilot light burns. You’ll want to make sure it’s not clogged which can prevent the pilot light from coming on. Turn off the gas and electricity to the furnace, then use a pin to clear out any debris.

If you have an electric furnace then it might use an electric ignition to start the pilot light. If this is the case the first thing you should try is simply resetting it. Turn the furnace off and then on again and listen for a spark. If the electric ignitor doesn’t come on you’ll have to get a professional to replace it for you.

Your Air Filter is Clogged

Every furnace is fitted with an air filter that prevents dirt and debris from getting inside. If this filter isn’t cleaned or changed regularly it will get clogged, which can cause your furnace to overheat. When this happens your furnace won’t be able to turn on.

Check your air filter and if you see that there’s an excessive build-up of dirt and debris it will need to either be washed or replaced. Refer to your instruction manual to see if you have a washable or replaceable air filter. Your air filter should be washed or replaced every 90 days to keep your furnace running properly.

A Faulty or Dirty Blower Motor

Another thing that can cause your furnace to overheat is a faulty or dirty blower motor. The blower motor controls the fan which ensures that the heat exchanger always has cool air moving across it. If this fails your furnace will overheat, which will prevent it from turning on.

In many cases, simply cleaning the blower assembly will solve the problem and allow your fan to work properly again. To do this, start by turning the power to the furnace off. Next, remove the doors on the unit in order to access the blower assembly. From there, you should be able to take out the screws holding the assembly in place and pull it out of the furnace.

Once the blower assembly has been removed from your furnace you can use a brush or a vacuum to remove any dirt and debris that has built up inside. Once you’re finished cleaning, install the blower assembly back into your furnace.

The Circuit Breaker Has Been Tripped

Whether you have a gas or electric furnace, it’s going to need power. So, if the circuit breaker’s been tripped and your furnace isn’t getting any power it’s not going to turn on.

Circuit breakers trip when there’s too much electricity flowing through them. It’s a safety measure to protect your house and appliances. Check the circuit breaker for your furnace and reset it if it’s been tripped. Reset the circuit if it’s been tripped and then turn the furnace back on.

If the furnace turns on and stays on then everything is fine. However, if the circuit breaker trips again there’s likely something wrong with the furnace or the wiring and you’ll need to call a professional to inspect the problem.

A Faulty Thermostat

If your furnace won’t turn on it might actually be your thermostat that’s causing the problem. Your thermostat is what sends the signal to the furnace that it needs to turn on, so if it’s not working your furnace won’t work either.

Inspect your thermostat and make sure it’s in heat mode. Next, take off the cover and have a look inside. If you see dirt or debris that might be affecting the sensors use a soft brush clear it away.

Contact Us Today for All of Your HVAC Needs

Romaniuk has been serving the greater Edmonton area for over 30 years. Our team of certified experts is ready to help you with all of your HVAC needs. If you have a furnace that’s not turning on, or any other issue with your HVAC system, call us today at 587-400-7333.