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Why Your Gas Furnace Won’t Work When the Power Goes Out

Gas furnaces work by burning natural gas and passing that heat through a heat exchanger to warm the surrounding air. The air can then be blown into your house through your ductwork to keep your home warm and cozy. You may assume that since your furnace uses natural gas, it contains no electrical components. It may be surprising then, when your furnace cuts out in the event of a power outage and won’t provide you with heat when you need it the most.

Here’s why your gas furnace won’t work when the power goes out:

The issue stems from electronic components within the furnace that still need to function in order for the furnace to work. The most notable is the ignition system, which is usually electrical in more modern furnaces and replaces the traditional pilot light. Electric ignition systems eliminate a lot of the problems associated with pilot lights, but if power gets cut off, then the whole furnace won’t function. (This is in large part a safety issue: if the thermocouple doesn’t detect the ignition system on, it won’t release any gas, thus keeping your home from being flooded with unlit gas.)

A similar issue can occur with such components as the fan motor or the venting fans, both of which require electricity to operate. Even with a gas furnace, these components are vital to the heating process. Without them, the furnace won’t be able to distribute the heated air throughout your home or properly vent the byproducts of burning natural gas, both of which are essential to the safe and effective operation of your furnace.

Unfortunately, there’s not much one can do in such circumstances besides wait for the power to come back on. If the power outage isn’t widespread, then check the breaker box to see if a circuit hasn’t been tripped. If another issue is involved, then the experts at OASIS Heating A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. can help with any Alexandria, VA, heating service you need.  Call us today if you’re having a problem and we’ll show you what we can do!

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