Can A Gas Furnace Work Without Electricity?

image of a homeowner during power outage without a working gas furnace

During the winter, you count on your gas furnace to safeguard your family from the chilly winter temperatures. Maintaining warmth and comfort in your home depends on your gas furnace’s ability to create and push warm air. Winter can sometimes bring severe weather conditions. Storms can quickly interrupt utilities leaving your house without electricity. This begs the question, “Will a gas furnace work without electricity?”.

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Does a Gas Furnace Function without Electricity?

Gas furnaces rely on electrical power, so they will not work if there is no power in the building. However, you can use a few techniques to keep your home safe and warm during a power outage.

Why a Gas Furnace Cannot Work without Electrical Power

You may think a gas furnace will be a reliable heat source for your home when there is no power because it burns gas to produce heat. Your gas furnace does not operate like a stove because it needs electricity to generate the heat necessary to warm your house. A gas furnace is ineffective during a power outage because it needs electricity to power the components that make it work.

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Parts in the Furnace that Need Electricity to Function

  • Relays: Relays are switches that control how gas flows and the safety mechanisms, including the fuel regulator and thermocouple.
  • Circuit Boards: The circuit board transmits the signals from the thermostats to the furnaces and the other way around.
  • Blower Motor: The blower motor uses fans to send warm air through the air ducts. It needs electricity to function.
  • Electric Ignition: The electric ignition does not rely on a pilot light to light the burners. In the absence of electricity, this system will not start the furnace.

The components listed above are key to the operation of a gas furnace system. If one part cannot function due to a lack of electricity, the other parts will not work.

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How to Keep Your Home Warm without Electricity

You have no control over your gas furnace’s design or its operations. However, your focus will always be on maintaining a safe and warm environment for yourself and your family if the electricity goes out. You will especially worry if there is a snowstorm because the temperatures drop quickly. We have provided some options that you can use to generate and maintain heat, although your gas furnace cannot work.

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Ensure that Cracks, Crevices, & Gaps are Covered

image of homeowner sealing air drafts

Heated indoor air could escape from cracks or gaps in your house. Similarly, cold air from outside can seep inside. Reduce this seepage with preventative measures such as checking your windows, doors, and any other areas where joints could crack or warp before winter. Weatherproofing tape or chemicals can also seal cracks or holes. Weatherproofing is wise because it holds warm air inside and is cost-effective.

If you are in the winter and the air inside your house is getting cooler, you will need to grab thick materials like towels. Use them to cover areas and spots that have air seepage. You may have to use tape to keep the towels or other items in place.

Related Article: Essential Tips For Surviving A Home Heating Emergency 

Bundle Up

image of a homeowner putting on a sweater to keep warm during power outage

Encourage your family to wear multiple layers of clothes in the house. Covering up in several layers insulates your body to keep you warm, which works well if you do not have a heating source. Wear thick enough clothing and choose fabrics that combat the cold, like wool. Use gloves and socks to keep your fingers and toes warm. You should also wear a cap or a thick hat to cover your head.

Keep Windows & Doors Closed

Reduce opening and closing windows and doors in your home. If you must go outside, organize trips to reduce the number of times your family goes through the door.

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Use Candles

Candles provide light when the power is out, but you can also use them as a heating source. Light some candles and place them in groups in different areas in your house. The candles can create heat to keep a small room warm enough.

However, you have to be careful with candles. Ensure that you rest them on a level and stable and level stand. Alternatively, you can rest the candles in bowls containing water. The water will aid you with putting out the flame if the candles burn out. Never place candles close or directly on flammable items such as paper, fabric, or plastic. Also, do not place them near appliances that utilize flammable gas, like stoves and ovens.

If you have children or pets, position the candles in areas that are not easily reachable to avoid your child or cat knocking over a candle. Never let candles burn for a long time while unattended. If you are going to rest or to another area in the home, put out the candles.

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Consume Warm Foods & Drinks

image of a woman sitting by a fireplace

During winter, consider a warm meal or a hot beverage such as hot chocolate, tea, or coffee if you need to eat or drink.

Relax or Sleep with Hot Water Bottles

Use hot, not boiling, water in hot water bottles or pack and cover them in a cloth or towel to keep your family warm. Hot water packs and bottles help with your sleeping or keeping your family comfortable.

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What Should You Do if Your Furnace Doesn’t Function after a Power Outage

If you start your home’s furnace after an electricity outage and it does not start, check the system. It could be that the gas valve has shut off, or the safety lock may need resetting. A furnace may not start after a power outage for other reasons. Even if you become tempted to test the system, avoid messing with it because you may cause further damage. Instead, shut off the furnace’s power supply and call a certified technician to ensure that your system is okay to operate safely. You will also be able to learn about any other problems that exist and get solutions for them.



Ensure your gas furnace’s reliability during the winter by maintaining the system with cleaning, regular assessments, and maintenance. Consistent checks and repairs keep your system operating optimally and efficiently, especially during the cold season. Always address the issues you are unsure of with the professionals by calling them immediately if there is a problem.

Call Townsend Energy for Your HVAC Needs

te logoTownsend Energy provides heating and cooling services in northeastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Maine. We employ top-tier technicians knowledgeable in HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, tune-ups, and more. All our team members possess the experience and knowledge to maintain your HVAC system.

Townsend Energy ensures that you get competitive pricing for cooling and heating services in this area. Our certified and reliable team provides services that enhance your comfort while improving your home’s energy efficiency. You will enjoy lower costs for cooling and heating your house. If your home’s HVAC system requires repair or replacement, we can help you make the best and most affordable decision for your family. We guarantee our work will meet your satisfaction. If you need to make an appointment for service, please call Townsend Energy today. We provide in-home estimates at no cost.

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