How to Turn on Furnace? Easy Steps for a Warm Home

How to Turn on Furnace

Winter has arrived, and it’s time to turn on your furnace. When the temperature drops, you want to make sure your home is warm and comfortable. If you’re not sure how to turn on your furnace, don’t worry; it’s a straightforward process.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to turn on your furnace and troubleshoot common issues that may prevent it from working. We’ll also provide essential furnace maintenance tips to keep your heating system running smoothly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Turning on your furnace is a simple process that requires a few steps.
  • If your furnace isn’t turning on, you may need to troubleshoot common issues such as checking the power supply, adjusting the thermostat, or relighting the pilot light.
  • Regular furnace maintenance, including checking and replacing air filters, cleaning the furnace, and scheduling professional inspections, can help ensure optimal performance.
  • If you’re experiencing serious furnace issues or if you’re unsure about working with electrical systems, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional furnace repair technician.

Why Won’t My Furnace Turn On? Troubleshooting Tips

If your furnace won’t turn on, it can be frustrating and uncomfortable, especially during the colder months. Fortunately, there are several common issues that you can troubleshoot to get your furnace up and running again. Here are some tips to help you diagnose and resolve the problem.

Checking for Power Supply

The first step in troubleshooting your furnace is to make sure it’s receiving power. Check that it’s plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If the breaker has tripped, try resetting it. If the furnace still won’t turn on, it may be due to a faulty thermostat or blower motor.

Adjusting the Thermostat

Another common issue that can prevent a furnace from turning on is a problem with the thermostat. Make sure it’s set to the desired temperature and in the “heat” mode. You may also need to replace the batteries or clean the contacts if they’re dirty.

Checking the Pilot Light

If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, check to see if it’s lit. If it’s not, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, there may be an issue with the thermocouple, which will require professional servicing.

Checking the Air Filter

A dirty air filter can also prevent your furnace from turning on. Check the filter and replace it if it’s dirty or clogged. A clean filter will improve the efficiency of your furnace and reduce your energy bills.

Cleaning the Furnace

Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in your furnace, which can affect its performance. Make sure that the furnace is turned off and clean it thoroughly with a soft brush or vacuum. If you’re unsure about how to clean your furnace, consider hiring a professional technician to help.

Regular Maintenance and Professional Inspection

To avoid common issues that can cause your furnace to malfunction, it’s important to schedule regular maintenance and professional inspections. A qualified technician can identify any potential problems and make necessary repairs to keep your furnace running efficiently and safely.

When to Call a Furnace Repair Professional

If you’ve tried troubleshooting your furnace and it still won’t turn on, or there are strange noises or odors coming from the furnace, it’s time to call a professional repair technician. They have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and fix complex furnace issues.

Common Furnace Heating Issues and Solutions

Some common issues that can affect the heating of your furnace include a faulty thermostat, a dirty filter, a malfunctioning blower motor, or a cracked heat exchanger. To resolve these issues, you may need to replace parts or call in a technician for professional repair. Additionally, make sure that your home is adequately insulated to retain heat and reduce energy consumption.

Checking for Power Supply

If your furnace is not turning on, the first thing you should check is if it is receiving power. Start by checking whether the furnace is plugged in properly or if it has blown a fuse. You can also try resetting the circuit breaker. If you’re still experiencing issues, check the power switch located on or near the furnace. Make sure it’s turned on and in the “on” position.

Another thing to check is if the thermostat is properly connected to the furnace. If not, the furnace may not receive the message to turn on.

If you’ve tried all these steps and your furnace still won’t turn on, it’s time to call a professional repair technician to take a look.

Adjusting the Thermostat

If your furnace won’t turn on, it’s possible that the issue lies with your thermostat. Make sure it’s set to “heat” mode and set to the desired temperature. If it’s set to “off” or “cool,” your furnace won’t turn on. If your thermostat is battery-powered, replace the batteries if they’re dead.

Another common issue with thermostats is that they may be dirty or dusty, which can affect their performance. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the thermostat and ensure that it’s free of debris.

Some newer thermostats have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to control the temperature remotely using a smartphone app. If you have one of these thermostats, make sure it’s connected to your Wi-Fi network and that you’re using the correct app to control it.

If adjusting your thermostat doesn’t solve the issue, it’s time to move on to other possible causes.

Checking the Pilot Light

If you’ve checked the power supply and adjusted the thermostat, but your furnace still won’t turn on, it may be a problem with the pilot light.

The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas in the furnace. If it goes out, your furnace won’t be able to heat your home.

Step 1 Locate the pilot light. It’s usually located near the bottom of the furnace and can be identified by a small gas valve with a red or black button. Consult your furnace’s manual if you’re unsure.
Step 2 Turn off the gas supply to the furnace and wait a few minutes to allow any gas fumes to dissipate.
Step 3 Press and hold down the pilot light button to release gas into the furnace. While holding the button, use a long lighter or match to light the pilot flame.
Step 4 Continue to hold the button down for about a minute, then release it. If the pilot light stays lit, turn the gas supply back on and turn the furnace on. If the pilot light still won’t stay lit, repeat the process or call a professional for assistance.

It’s important to note that if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas supply immediately and seek professional assistance.

Checking the Air Filter

Regularly checking and replacing your furnace’s air filter is an essential part of maintaining its efficiency. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, forcing the furnace to work harder and consume more energy. Here’s how to check your furnace’s air filter:

  1. Locate the air filter. It is usually found in the furnace’s blower compartment or in a filter cabinet near the furnace.
  2. Turn off the furnace.
  3. Remove the old air filter and inspect it for dirt and debris.
  4. If the filter appears dirty or clogged, replace it with a new one. Make sure to install the new filter with the arrow on the filter frame pointing in the direction of airflow.
  5. Turn the furnace back on and check for improved airflow and performance.

It’s recommended to check your furnace’s air filter every one to three months, depending on usage and the type of filter you have. If you have pets or allergies, you may need to check and replace the filter more frequently.

Checking the Air Filter

One of the most common reasons for furnace problems is a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt and debris, it restrains airflow and can cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to, ultimately leading to its breakdown.

You can easily check your furnace’s air filter by locating the filter slot and examining the filter. It should be cleaned or changed regularly, depending on its type and usage.

If you notice that the air filter is dirty, replace it with a new one. An air filter replacement is a simple and cost-effective way to prevent furnace breakdowns and improve furnace efficiency. You can purchase a new air filter at your local hardware or home improvement store, or you can order one online.

Regular Maintenance and Professional Inspection

To keep your furnace functioning at peak performance, it’s essential to schedule regular maintenance and professional inspection. This will help identify and address minor issues before they evolve into major problems, saving you time and money in the long run.

During a routine maintenance visit, a certified technician will check your furnace for signs of wear and tear, make necessary adjustments, and replace worn out components. They will also check the system’s efficiency and performance, ensuring it runs smoothly and provides adequate heating for your home.

Important Maintenance Tasks

Some of the maintenance tasks that should be performed regularly include:

  • Replacing air filters every 1-3 months (depending on usage)
  • Cleaning the furnace and ductwork
  • Checking and adjusting thermostat settings
  • Inspecting and lubricating motors and fans
  • Checking for gas leaks and carbon monoxide levels

By keeping up with these maintenance tasks, you can extend the lifespan of your furnace and ensure it operates safely and efficiently.

Professional Inspection

It’s recommended to have your furnace inspected by a professional at least once a year, ideally before the start of the heating season. During the inspection, the technician will:

  • Check and clean the burners, ignition system, and heat exchanger
  • Inspect the flue and ventilation system
  • Test for safe operation and proper ventilation
  • Check for leaks and corrosion
  • Perform any necessary repairs or component replacements

Professional inspections not only ensure your furnace is operating safely and efficiently, but they also help prevent emergencies and unexpected breakdowns.

Overall, regular maintenance and professional inspection are crucial for the longevity and performance of your furnace. By taking proactive measures to care for your furnace, you can enjoy a warm and comfortable home all winter long.

When to Call a Furnace Repair Professional

While some furnace issues can be resolved with basic troubleshooting, there may come a time when it’s necessary to call in a professional furnace repair technician. Here are some situations in which it’s best to seek assistance:

  • If your furnace is making odd noises, such as banging, popping, or screeching
  • If your furnace is emitting unusual odors, such as a burning smell or a strong gas odor
  • If your furnace is blowing cold air instead of warm air, or if the airflow is weak or nonexistent
  • If you’ve followed all of the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article and your furnace still won’t turn on
  • If your furnace repeatedly turns on and off without heating your home properly
  • If you’ve noticed a spike in your energy bills despite not using your furnace excessively

Remember, attempting to fix complex furnace issues yourself can be dangerous and may cause further damage to your furnace. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and call a professional if you’re unsure of what to do.

Common Furnace Heating Issues and Solutions

If your furnace is not working properly, it can be a major inconvenience, especially during the colder months when you rely on it to keep your home warm. Here are some common heating issues you may encounter and their potential solutions:

Clogged Air Filter

If your furnace is not blowing enough warm air, a clogged air filter may be the culprit. A dirty air filter restricts airflow, causing your furnace to work harder than it needs to and potentially overheating. To solve this issue, replace your air filter regularly, ideally every three months. It’s a simple task that can greatly improve the efficiency and lifespan of your furnace.

Faulty Thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat may cause your furnace to turn on and off frequently, fail to turn on at all, or produce insufficient heat. Check your thermostat’s settings and ensure it is set to your desired temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, ensure it is programmed correctly. If none of these steps help, consider replacing your thermostat or calling a professional for assistance.

Ignition Problems

For gas furnaces, ignition problems may prevent the furnace from starting up and producing heat. Check the pilot light to see if it is lit. If it is out, you can relight it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. If the pilot light is lit, but the furnace still won’t start, call a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.

Dirty Burners

If your furnace is producing a yellow flame instead of a blue one, or emitting a burning smell, dirty burners may be to blame. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the burners, interfering with their performance. Turn off your furnace and allow it to cool, then inspect the burners and clean them if necessary. If you are unsure how to clean them, or the issue persists after cleaning, call a professional.

Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your furnace functioning optimally. Ignoring routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning, lubricating, or inspecting your furnace can lead to more severe problems down the line. To avoid costly repairs and ensure your furnace runs smoothly, schedule regular maintenance checks with a professional technician.

By being aware of these common heating issues and taking the necessary steps to address them, you can keep your furnace running efficiently and maintain a warm and comfortable home all winter long.


Congratulations, you now know how to turn on your furnace and troubleshoot common issues that may arise. Remember to always check for power supply, adjust the thermostat, and inspect the pilot light and air filter regularly. Additionally, cleaning the furnace and scheduling professional maintenance can ensure optimal operation and prevent costly repairs.

If you encounter persistent heating issues or are unsure of how to address a problem, don’t hesitate to call a furnace repair professional. It’s better to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating system, especially during the colder months.

Stay Warm and Cozy!

We hope this guide has been helpful in ensuring a warm and comfortable home for you and your loved ones. Stay warm and cozy throughout the winter months, and don’t forget to take care of your furnace!

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