Skip to Content

Did You Know Your Gas Furnace Need Electric Power Too?

Electrical Outlet

Have you ever thought to yourself, “It’s a good thing I have a gas-powered furnace, because if the electricity goes out during the winter, I’ll still be able to keep warm!” If you have, I’ve got some important news for you: your gas furnace does burn natural gas to heat the air, but it also requires electricity to run. If you lose power to your house, your furnace will also lose power.

I don’t mean to be a downer dog here. I think gas furnaces are great! They’re one of the best ways to provide comfort to homes during our winters. Many of the negative things you hear about gas furnaces just aren’t true! Gas furnaces aren’t super dangerous and they won’t dry out the air in your house. They also need electricity to run, and I want to get into that in detail because the more you know about your furnace, the more you’ll know what help you need when it comes to heating repair in Walland, TN.

How a gas furnace relies on electricity

At one point, gas furnaces did run without electricity … but that was a long time ago when furnaces were massive cast iron creatures that lived in basements, burnt coal, and just let the heat rise up through a network of pipes. (These ancient furnaces have an appropriate name: octopus furnaces.)

Today’s gas furnaces are more complex, as well as more convenient, energy-efficient, and safe—and much of that comes from several electronic controls and devices that help them operate. Here are several ways a gas furnace relies on electrical power:

  • An electronic ignition system ignites the burners. This replaced the old standing pilot light, which was an energy waste and sometimes went out.
  • A furnace uses a blower fan to move air through it and then into the ventilation system. This is often the same fan used for the air conditioning system. 
  • Many of the furnace functions are regulated through an electronic control board. This board handles the ignition, the blower fan, the gas valve, as well as several important safety features.
  • Most homes use a digital thermostat to control the furnace, and these also won’t run in a power outage. 

The moral of my story here is that the electrical parts of a gas furnace may mean the heater won’t run in case of a blackout, but you wouldn’t want a furnace that didn’t have these parts. They make your furnace run better and keep your family safer. 

If you do have a power outage…

I want to drop in a short safety note at the end, in case you do experience a power outage during winter and your gas furnace won’t work. Please don’t attempt to fiddle with the furnace to see if you can get it working. You won’t be able to, and you may interfere with the safety features that shut off gas flow in case of an outage. If your furnace won’t come back on when power is restored, please call our professionals to investigate. They’ll make sure that all safety mechanisms are working and your furnace will run without hazard.

Stay warm and safe,