You get up one morning and find the floor beneath your feet is chilly. Well, time to fire-up the good ol’ gas furnace and warm up your home. But when you turn up the thermostat, nothing happens. You go down to the basement (or to wherever your furnace is located) and see that the gas burners haven’t lit. What’s going on? And, more importantly, what do you do to fix it?
First … In most cases, you shouldn’t attempt to fix it! Although we’ll look at some simple solutions which may explain why the burners aren’t coming on, anything that would involve making actual repairs to the heating system must be left to licensed professionals. It’s hazardous to work on a gas-powered appliance if you don’t have the right training and tools! If you’re in doubt about your furnace, call our team for furnace repair in Salt Lake City, UT. We’ll be there fast and on time (guaranteed!) to have the problem remedied.
Possible Causes of Burners That Won’t Light
These are the most common sources for a furnace failing to light the burners:
- Failed pilot light – Standing pilot lights are becoming rare, since new furnaces use electronic ignition systems. If you have an older furnace that uses a pilot light, check to see if it’s gone out. If you can’t get it relit and stay lit, shut off the gas to the furnace and call professionals.
- Tripped circuit breaker – Because most furnaces today use electronic ignition, a gas furnace must have electrical power to work. If the breaker to the furnace trips, there won’t be electric power to ignite the burners. Reset any tripped breakers and see if this solves the problem.
- Failed electronic ignition system – The electronic ignition system may fail years before the furnace does. This isn’t a serious problem, but you will need to have a professional replace the igniter.
- Clogged or dirty burners – The issue may be the burners are clogged up with dirt or corrosion so they cannot draw enough air to ignite. Don’t attempt to clean off the burners on your own: a professional must remove the burners and do this job.
- Gas line trouble – The burners may not be receiving natural gas through the gas line. The trouble could be with the gas main (check other gas-using appliances to see if they’re also having trouble) or with a broken gas valve in the furnace. Do not attempt to diagnose gas line troubles as a DIY project! Shut off the gas main in case and then call for repairs.
Furnace Repair and Replacement
Burners failing to turn on is usually something an HVAC technician can repair in a short time. It’s not often an indication the furnace needs to be replaced. However, if your furnace is already over 15 years old, we recommend asking your repair technician about the system’s future during service. We especially advise giving serious thought to replacing the furnace if it still uses a standing pilot light: electronic ignition furnaces are more energy-efficient and reliable.