Will Your Gas Furnace Continue Working During An Electrical Outage?

image of a homeowner during power outage without a working gas furnace

Your very first defense against the bitter cold of the winter months is your furnace. Your home comfort is reliant upon this appliance and its ability to distribute heated air throughout the building. Unfortunately, winter can often bring extreme weather. Electrical power can be knocked out by a storm, leaving you and everyone else in the dark. However, will a gas furnace work without electricity? Sadly, it won’t. If you have a gas furnace in your home, it won’t work when the electricity goes out. The good news is that are things that you can do to stay safe and comfortable during an electrical outage.

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Why Gas Furnaces Can’t Operate Without Electricity

It’s a common assumption that furnaces will continue to be reliable heat sources when the electricity stops working. After all, these appliances burn gas to produce heat. However, gas furnaces aren’t stoves. They do need electricity as part of their heat generation process. Gas furnaces have components that need electricity to function and thus, they’re basically useless when power outages occur.

Furnace Components That Need Electricity

  • Relays: These are switches in charge of controlling the gas flow and all of the safety devices within the system including the fuel regulator and the thermocouple.
  • Circuit Boards: These components transmit signals between the furnace and thermostat
  • Blower Motor: This is the motor that uses fans to force heated air throughout the ducting and it also requires electricity to function
  • Electric Ignition Switch: The electric ignition system in a modern gas furnace doesn’t use a pilot light to fire the burners up. In the absence of a working power supply, an electric ignition switch won’t be able to start your furnace up.

All of these components are integral parts of a modern gas furnace. If even one isn’t functioning due to no electrical supply, the entire system won’t be able to function.

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Tips for Keeping Warm Without the Benefit Of Electricity

Given that you cannot change the way in which your furnace is built, the next thing to worry about is how to keep everyone in the home warm during a power outage. This can be a special challenge during snowstorms when outside temperatures quickly plummet. Following are several ways to preserve and even generate heat when your gas functioning is no longer functioning due to power loss:

Seal Up all Gaps, Crevices, and Cracks

image of homeowner sealing air drafts

Warm indoor air will escape through any crevices and cracks throughout the building. Moreover, cold air can start seeping in as well. One good form of prevention is to check all windows, doors, wall joints, and other areas that might be cracked or warped well before winter actually arrives. There are weatherproofing chemicals that you can use or weatherproofing tape for sealing cracks and holes shut. This is an imported measure even with the power on as it helps keep heat inside and makes your home more energy-efficient, limiting your energy bills.

If you wind up in the middle of winter with indoor air that’s getting increasingly colder fast, collect thick towels and other materials and then use these items to block up areas and spots that are allowing cold air to flow in. If necessary, you can even secure these things in place with tape.

Layer Up and Cover Up

Try wearing a few layers of clothing while inside. Thick fabrics are good insulators that will keep your body heat trapped close to you, which can be very helpful if you don’t have a reliable heat source. Choose clothing that’s light but thick and pick materials that work against cold temperatures like wool. Wear gloves and socks to protect your extremities and don a nice thick hat.

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Close All Windows and Doors

Try not to open and close doors and windows often. If you have to step outside, schedule your trips to minimize the number of times your door must be opened.

Light a Few Candles

image of a home using candles for heat during a power outage

During a power outage, candles can be a good source of illumination but they are also a good heat source as well. Light several candles and then position them close together in several areas throughout the room. This will produce sufficient heat for warming up a small-sized room.

However, do be careful when lighting and setting up candles for this purpose. Always put them on a level or stable stand or even put the stand in a water-filled bowl. This will extinguish the flame if the candle burns out or tips over. Never put candles close or directly on flammable materials or surfaces such as paper, fabric, plastic, or wood. It’s additionally important to keep your candles away from any flammable gas appliances such as an oven or stove.

If there are pets or small children in your home, position candles in areas that aren’t easy to reach and where they won’t be accidentally knocked over. Don’t leave candles lit for too long in any room. Always extinguish them before leaving a room or turning in for the night.

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Consume Warm Foods and Beverages

image of a homeowner eating soup to stay warm

If you are going to eat or drink, choose beverages or foods that are warm including hot chocolate, coffee, or tea.

Sleep and Sit With a Hot Water Bottle

Fill hot water packs or hot water bottles with hot water – not boiling – and then wrap these in cloths or towels and use them to stay warm. These can be quite helpful when going to bed for the night and needing a little extra heat.

Steps to Take If Your Furnace Won’t Turn On After an Outage

If you try turning your furnace on after a power outage and nothing happens, take a minute to inspect the system. It may be that the gas valve has turned off or that the safety lock needs to be reset. However, there are many other problems that can exist when furnaces don’t start up after electrical outages. You might be tempted to try finding and fixing these issues yourself, but you shouldn’t. This could lead to more problems than it resolves. Simply shut the power supply to your home furnace off and call a licensed technician in. This will keep your home heating system safe by ensuring that all underlying issues are properly identified and correctly resolved.

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Final Word

The best way to keep a home gas furnace reliable all throughout the cold-weather season is by keeping it in excellent shape. Routine inspections and maintenance will keep everything working as it should. If there are problems that you don’t understand, let professionals handle them right away.

Give Point Bay Fuel a Call For Any of Your HVAC Needs

Point Bay Fuel offers quality heating and cooling service in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey. Our technicians are certified and trained to provide excellent HVAC installations, replacements, repairs, and tune-ups. When you want your HVAC system to run its best, our experienced techs have the expertise and knowledge to provide the correct service.

Point Bay Fuel guarantees competitive pricing for HVAC service. Our regular maintenance service can increase the efficiency of your equipment while improving indoor comfort and reducing heating and cooling bills. If you need a new heating system or repairs on your current system, we’re here to help while keeping your budget in mind. All of the work we perform comes with a guarantee of satisfaction. Give Point Bay Fuel a call today and schedule your service appointment. We offer no-obligation, in-home estimates.

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