Heat from natural gas, propane, and fuel oil is commonly used in homes of all sizes across the country. Relatively simple in design, heating appliances that use these petroleum-based fuels operate with a thermostatically controlled ignition and burner system to create safe, reliable heat. The heated air produced in the furnace is then forced throughout the home using a system of ducts.
When the ignition system of a gas or oil furnace fails to operate, no heat is produced. Homeowners who are dealing with a gas furnace that seems unable to ignite may find the following repair information helpful.
Rule out obvious reasons
The most obvious reason for a gas furnace to stop operating is due to a lack of gas for the system to burn. Homeowners who find that their heating system has stopped producing heat should immediately check the tank or fuel supply, including the pipes that feed the system to make sure that they are not dealing with a lack of fuel or leaking pipe.
Since electricity is required for both electronic ignitions and fan operation, homeowners will also need to check their home's electrical panel to ensure that the breaker has not tripped. Homeowners should also check the thermostat to make sure that it is on and set properly.
Clogged filters can also prevent gas furnaces from igniting because they interfere with the unit's ability to properly ignite.
Check pilot lights and electronic ignitions
If the fuel supply, pipes, electricity, thermostat, and filter systems are not suspected of causing the problem, the most common repair issue homeowners may face has to do with their furnace's pilot light or electronic ignition system. Pilot lights that will not light or remain lit may need to be professionally cleaned, adjusted, or replaced to resume proper function.
If the gas or oil furnace is a newer one, it is likely equipped with an electronic ignition system, instead of a pilot light. To start producing heat, an electric current surges through the igniter component, creating heat that ignites the incoming gas and begins the furnace's burn process. Igniters that click repeatedly without igniting likely need to be professionally cleaned or replaced, in order to produce heat.
Homeowners who are dealing with any type of non-working gas or oil furnace should contact a reputable heating service as soon as possible to ensure that their family remains safe and comfortable during cold winter weather.
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