Does a Gas Furnace Still Need Electricity?

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Tornados. The news is filled with natural disasters impacting millions of people each year. 

Here in Colorado, we have our own worries. The occasional tornado may touch down, but a bigger concern is blizzards, where you measure snow by the feet instead of inches. 

Suddenly, without warning, the power shuts down. The lights go off. And everything you’re used to doing is no longer possible. You can’t:

  • Use the microwave
  • Run the vacuum
  • Watch television
  • Turn on a light

You almost laugh as you attempt to settle into a project, only to discover you can’t access it without electricity. 

But what about your gas furnace? Does a gas furnace need electricity to operate? Do you have to worry about heat? Or will it operate using natural gas alone? 

Does a Gas Furnace Still Need Electricity?

Will a gas furnace operate without electricity? 

Homes across the Front Range are built using several different systems for functionality. Many of your appliances run off electricity. You may have several that rely on natural gas, including your furnace. 

Yet a gas furnace doesn’t rely on natural gas alone. The blower motor, ignition system, and thermostat all rely on electricity to work. In short, no electricity, no heat from the furnace. Power outages will impact your natural gas furnace. 

Blower motor – while a gas furnace could still produce heat, without the electricity-operated blower motor to distribute the heat, you’d still be left in the cold. Electricity drives the blower fan to push warmth throughout the ductwork and through the vents into each room. 

Ignition system – modern day starters no longer use pilot lights to ignite the system. Instead, electricity powers the switch to ignite the system. This is a safety feature to ensure the circuit breaker trips if there is too much electricity. 

Thermostat – today’s sophisticated programmable and smart thermostats use electricity to run and get information to the system controls. 

What to do if gas furnace doesn’t start after power turns on

Whether the power turns off for a few minutes or a few hours, once it’s back, your gas furnace should turn on. If it doesn’t, check to see if:

  • The furnace switch is in the on position
  • There’s an error message flashing on the furnace’s control panel
  • A fuse has blown or the breaker has tripped
  • The vent isn’t blocked or clogged
  • The thermostat is communicating with the furnace

If your gas furnace still isn’t operational, it’s time to call in a professional. We’ll help pinpoint the problem, and get your heating system working once again. 

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