Furnace Won’t Turn On? [2022] Here are 6 Tips to Get it Started Again.

Furnace Won’t Turn On? [2022] Here are 6 Tips to Get it Started Again.

We have all been there. You drop off to sleep in bed in the winter only to wake up at an ungodly hour in the morning to find that the heating has failed and the temperatures have dropped to Arctic levels in your bedroom.

Typically, this issue could be solved with just a quick trip to the furnace to restart it, but when you find that your heating system won’t turn on, no matter what you do, you could be in for a cold and sleepless night.

When you wake up the next day, it may be a good idea to call on the services of a qualified HVAC technician.

However, before you do so, there are several things that you can try to get the furnace started on your own.

This article takes you through a few of these furnace troubleshooting tips.

What to Check When Your Furnace Doesn’t Start

1. Reset Your Circuit Breaker

Residential circuit breakers

Although many furnaces are powered by gas or propane, some parts of them require electricity to work.

Among these components are electric ignition systems and the blower motor. All of these are needed for your furnace to function properly.

If your furnace refuses to turn on, your first port of call should be to your power disconnect switch near the furnace.

Check that this power switch has not tripped. Reset it just to make sure. Sometimes it might look like a light switch nearby so check that out as well.

Your check should be your main circuit breakers.

Circuit breakers are designed to protect your electric appliances by tripping when there is a sudden power surge or when you have too many appliances plugged in and the system overloads.

Locate your circuit breaker panel (usually found in the basement, the attic, or in a cupboard) and find the switch that corresponds to the HVAC system.

If you find the switch in the OFF position, the circuit has likely been tripped for some reason.

Returning the tripped circuit breaker to the ON position will probably allow you to ignite the furnace again with no problems.

2. Check your Thermostat Settings

Smart thermostat on wall

Another common cause of a furnace with ignition problems is a malfunctioning thermostat. It is worth checking to see whether the thermostat has lost its programming.

If you find it has, you should reset it and see if this resolves the ignition issues.

Some thermostats have independent power sources.

If your thermostat uses batteries, you should check to see whether dead thermostat batteries caused your ignition problems.

Replace them, set the thermostat to 10 degrees hotter than room temperature, and normally start the furnace and see if your home gets to the desired temperature.

It would be best if you also double-checked that the thermostat is set to HEAT rather than COLD.

3. Check Your Air Filters

Phyxter HVAC technician checking furnace air filter

These days, many furnaces come equipped with safety features that cause them to shut off when the air filter is dirty and clogged and needs changing.

If you have not changed your furnace filter in more than 90 days, this is likely to be what is causing your ignition issues.

To change your dirty air filter, open or slide the door panel to get access to the furnace.

The filter is normally located near where the cold air enters the furnace in the cold air duct or at the blower chamber entrance.

Remove the old filter and replace it with the new filter.

It’s a good idea to label each filter with a marker pen with the date it was installed to keep track of when you should next replace it.

Also, take note of the airflow direction when changing filters.

Mark that on your air handler with a marker to ensure you replace your filter the right way each time.

4. Try Emptying the Drain Pan

Furnace drain pan

All HVAC systems have a drain pan to collect the water that they remove from the air. Normally, the water that accumulates here is allowed to drain away.

However, when there is a problem with the system accumulating too much water or if the drain line gets blocked, it can trip a safety switch or float switch, preventing the furnace from igniting.


If you find your drain pan full of water, empty it, and then give the drain line a clean using a bleach solution. When you have done this, you may find that your furnace reignites.

5. Inspect Your Pilot Light

furnace ignitor

Most natural gas furnaces will not ignite unless the furnace pilot light is burning.

You can usually see where the pilot light is on through a small glass window somewhere on the furnace.

If you find that it has gone out, you should follow the instructions that came with the unit to reignite it.

The pilot light should be no other color than electric blue when burning.

If it is burning purple, green, orange, or red, it is a sign that the furnace has been infiltrated by a substance that does not belong there. In many cases, this substance will be dust.

A possible solution to this problem may be to remove the door panel and wipe down the furnace’s inside.

Check the condition of the furnace burners while you are checking out the internals of your furnace.

However, if it’s the furnace flame sensor (ignition sensor), then it’s best to leave this to your local furnace repair company.

6. Check the Fuel Supply

Gas oven burner plate

When troubleshooting ignition problems, the final thing you should check is whether the furnace has access to fuel.

In some cases, the only problem why a furnace won’t turn on may be that it is not receiving gas for some reason or other.

Most of the time, its gas valves that have been turned off for summer.

If you have a gas furnace, you can check whether your gas supply is working by turning on another gas appliance, such as the oven hob.

If you find that gas is not reaching your other appliances, there is no problem with your furnace.

You should call your gas supplier immediately to inform them of the issue and have them come around to resolve it.

However, if you have problems with a gas line, the gas valve itself, or smell gas, this is best left to the professionals.

A gas leak can be hazardous. If you smell gas, isolate your gas supply if safe to do so. If this doesn’t stop the problem, call 911 and get out of the house.

Calling in a Professional Furnace Repair Contractor

If you have tried the solutions listed above without any success and notice a smell of gas or propane, it is time to call in a professional HVAC technician.

An HVAC Pro will quickly diagnose your problems and offer you the most cost-effective solution to restoring your home to warmth as soon as possible.

They will also ensure that your furnace aligns with the latest safety guidelines to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Items such as a broken heat exchanger can be expensive if not diagnosed correctly.

The amazing technicians at Phyxter Home Services have the knowledge, skills, and tools to fix all possible furnace problems on the spot.

Check out our page on Furnace Services for more information or a free estimate in your area. So make the most of your money and get the right professional advice the first time.

Related Reading: My Furnace Won’t Turn Off, What Now?

Russell Jones

VP of Operations @ Phyxter and Home Improvement Specialist

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Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

Phyxter is laser-focused on writing the best articles and guides to empower homeowners to get the best out of their homes.

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