Will A Gas Furnace Work Without Electricity?

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Your gas furnace is your primary defense against the cold during the winter. It is responsible for distributing warm air. However, winter often brings extreme weather conditions, including storms that can disrupt electrical power and plunge your home into darkness. The question is: Will a gas furnace work without electricity? The answer is no. A gas furnace requires electricity to function. However, there are techniques you can use to maintain comfort and safety during a power outage.

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Why A Gas Furnace Doesn’t Work Without Electricity

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It is a common misconception to view a gas furnace as a dependable heat source even when there’s no electricity. While it relies on gas for combustion and heat generation, your gas furnace is different from a stove. It actually depends on electricity to facilitate the heat production required for warming your home. Your gas furnace becomes inoperative during power outages primarily because it relies on electrical components.

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Furnace Components That Require Electricity

  1. Relays: These switches control the flow of gas and oversee the system’s safety features, including the thermocouple and fuel generator.
  2. Circuit Boards: This component is responsible for transmitting signals between the thermostat and the furnace, allowing communication in both directions.
  3. Blower Motor: The motor drives the fans to circulate heated air through the air duct system. It relies on electricity for operation.
  4. Electronic Ignition: This ignition system does not depend on a pilot light to ignite the burners. Without a proper source, the ignition system won’t be able to initiate the furnace.

These components are pivotal to the gas furnace system. If any of them fail to function due to a lack of electrical power, the entire system will be rendered inoperative.

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How To Keep Warm Without Electricity

In the event of a power outage, your main concern is warmth and comfort. This is crucial, especially during snowstorms, which can lead to rapid indoor temperature drops. Here are strategies to generate and retain heat even when your gas furnace is non-functional:

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Cover All Cracks, Gaps, And Crevices 

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Warm indoor air tends to escape throughcracks in your home, while cold outdoor air can easily infiltrate. Make sure you inspect your doors, windows, and any areas with joints that may be prone to warping or cracking well before the winter. Use weatherproofing products like weatherproofing chemicals or tapes to seal any gaps or cracks. This can help retain heated indoor air and reduce energy costs.

During winter, you may notice temperature drops. Use thick materials like towels to block potential entry points for cold air. Secure these materials with tape if necessary.

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Cover Up

Layer your clothing for added warmth. Thick fabrics provide insulation to retain your body heat. This is an essential strategy when a dependable heat source is not available. Go for lightweight yet warm clothing. Select materials designed to combat the cold, like wool. Wear comfortable socks and gloves to keep your extremities warm, and finish with a thick hat or cap.

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Keep The Doors And Windows Closed

Refrain from opening and closing your doors and windows unless it is absolutely necessary. Plan your outings to minimize the times you need to open the door. 

Light Candles

paraffin candles

Candles are a valuable resource during power outages and can function as a heat source. Light several candles and position them closely together in strategic locations to generate sufficient warmth in a small room.

Be cautious when using candles. Place them on a stable and level stand, or position the stand within a container with water to extinguish the flame if the candle burns out. Make sure the candles are not placed directly on or near flammable materials such as wood, plastic, fabric, or paper. Maintain a safe distance from flammable gas appliances, such as stoves or ovens.

Put candles in locations that are not easily knocked over or out of reach of children or pets. Do not leave candles burning unattended in a room for extended periods. Extinguish them when moving to another part of the house or before going to bed.

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Consume Warm Foods & Drinks

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Consume heated dishes and warm or hot beverages like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Hot food and drinks provide warmth and comfort to the body.

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Use Hot Water Bottles

Fill water bottles or hot water packs with hot (not boiling) water, wrap them in a towel or cloth, and use them to stay warm. These are particularly handy if you are heading to bed and want a cozy night’s sleep.

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What To Do If Your Furnace Doesn’t Work After A Power Outage

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If your furnace does not work when restarting it after a power outage, you need to inspect the system. Inspection should involve checking if the gas valve is closed or resetting the safety lock, among other potential issues. 

There are various reasons why a furnace does not restart after a power outage. Homeowners get tempted to tinker with the system when this happens. Remember to exercise caution. Attempting to fix the problem yourself could result to further damage. If you encounter difficulties, turn off the power supply to the furnace and seek professional assistance. This ensures both the safety of your system and the identification and resolution of any underlying problems.

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Related Article: My Furnace Turns On But No Heat – Why?


To keep the reliability of your gas furnace throughout the colder months, it is important to keep it well-maintained. Regular check-ups, cleanings, and maintenance will help ensure the system functions optimally. For any issues you are uncertain about, consult your trusted HVAC professionals.

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Wilcox Energy provides top-notch heating and cooling solutions throughout the shoreline towns of Connecticut. Our team comprises highly skilled and certified technicians who excel in HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Our technicians have the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system accurately.

At Wilcox Energy, we proudly offer the most competitive heating and cooling service rates in the area. Our HVAC maintenance and repair services are designed to enhance your comfort and boost energy efficiency while reducing your HVAC expenses. If you need HVAC repair and replacement, we can recommend the ideal solution for your home while staying within your budget. We stand behind our HVAC work with a satisfaction guarantee. To schedule a service appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out to Wilcox Energy today. We also provide a free, in-home estimates.

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