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Gowland's Heating & A/C Blog

Reasons the Furnace Isn’t Lighting

furnace-burners-small

When you need the gas furnace in your house to run during winter, the least you expect from it is to turn on. This means the electronic igniter (or pilot light in an older furnace) causes the gas burners to light and create the combustion of gas that will eventually warm up the air moving into your house.

But you may discover one day that the furnace isn’t coming on. The burner won’t light. No matter how you set the thermostat, you don’t hear the whoosh of the burners igniting or see the familiar blue light from inside the furnace. Obviously, this is a problem, and you may need to call our technicians for furnace repair in Slidell, LA. But let’s first look at the possible reasons your gas furnace isn’t lighting.

The furnace switch is still off

Is this the first time you’ve turned on the furnace for the season? If it is, the problem might be as simple as the furnace switch still being set to “off.” This switch is located near the furnace and serves as an individual breaker to shut down the furnace for the season. Check to see that the switch is set to “on.”

The furnace’s circuit breaker has tripped

It sometimes comes as a surprise to people that a gas furnace needs electric power to run. Without electrical power, the furnace’s ignition won’t start, nor will the control panel send signals to the gas valves to open. Open the electrical panel for the house to see if the breaker for the HVAC system has tripped. Reset the breaker to see if the furnace then works. If the breaker continues to trip, have technicians look into it. 

The furnace filter is completely clogged

A furnace must have airflow through it to allow the burners to ignite. If the furnace filter is fully congested because it hasn’t been changed out in months, this will be enough to cut off the airflow. Put in a clean filter and set a regular schedule to change it out every one to three months.

Dirt or carbon particles on the burners

The burners may not be able to light because they’re covered with grime or carbon particles, cutting them off from the oxygen needed for combustion. You can’t clean the burners yourself; it requires professionals to first remove the burners and use safe chemicals on them.

Broken ignition system

The electronic ignition system may have failed. If the furnace is working properly, this will cause a safety feature to stop the flow of gas to the burners. This is a simple issue for professionals to fix: they only have to replace the igniter with a new one. 

Gas valve problems

The gas valve may be stuck, stopping gas flow to the burners. If you hear a clicking noise from the furnace when it tries to ignite, it’s possible that it’s a stuck valve and the igniter is trying to ignite nothing. Shut off the furnace at the switch and call for repairs.

There are other possibilities for why the burners won’t light, but you must have experienced technicians handle the diagnosis and repairs.

Gowland’s Heating & A/C believes in “Relationship over revenue!” Call us for service—we’re available at your convenience, not ours. 

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