During cold winters, staying warm indoors is the best defense against harsh elements. However, extreme weather events can compromise power lines, causing a power outage that impacts your HVAC system’s ability to provide warmth. In these cases, homeowners wonder, will a gas furnace work without electricity?

Unfortunately, an electrical outage also means your gas furnace will not function. While this is surprising, there are various reasons that a gas furnace cannot operate without a power supply. Nevertheless, you and your family can do many things to remain warm during an electrical outage.

If you’re experiencing problems with your home’s heating systems, call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for top-rated furnace repair in El Cajon. Our experienced technicians can address any issues with your home’s HVAC system to restore your family’s comfort. Call our experts at (619) 403-2823 today!

Why Gas Furnaces Don’t Work Without Electricity

Since gas stoves can operate without electricity, most homeowners assume that their gas furnaces work similarly. Unlike gas stoves, gas furnaces feature components that require electricity to initiate the gas flow that creates heat within your home. As a result, you can expect your furnace to stop producing heat during a power outage.

Components of a Furnace Requiring Electricity

So, will a gas furnace work without electricity? No, it will not.

Learning the electrical components of a gas furnace provides insight into the complexity of this system’s heat production. These electrically-powered mechanisms are the reason heat production ceases during a blackout.

Circuit Boards

Ever wonder how your thermostat and furnace communicate to reach your ideal temperature? The circuit boards are responsible for transmitting signals between these components to ensure it emits the proper amount of heat. Without this electrically-powered communication, there is no way for a furnace to regulate temperatures within your home.


The relays control heating sources in your gas furnace. Through electrical charges, these switches not only regulate gas flow but also power safety mechanisms that shut your system off in emergencies. Without electricity, your system won’t operate safely.

Blower Motors

While the furnace produces heat, it also has to reach different rooms in your home. The blower motor controls this, blowing the heat into centralized ducts and allowing your home to receive even heating. Blower motors need electrical power to provide this crucial distribution function. 

Electric Ignition Switch

Newer gas furnaces eliminate the use of a pilot light for ignition. Instead, an electrical ignition switch provides the spark to burn gas that heats your home, and electrical outages make this ignition impossible.

How to Stay Comfortable During a Power Blackout

While you might worry that an electrical outage will mean absolute discomfort and freezing temperatures within your home, there are steps you can take to stay warm during a blackout. Some of these steps can improve your home’s temperature control during blackouts. Read below some ways to combat cold temperatures in your home without electricity.

Dress Warmly

Dressing warmly might be one of your best resources during a power outage. While wearing coats and gloves inside your home might sound silly, these accessories can keep you comfortable during extreme cold. Layer up when your gas furnace no longer has the electricity to keep you warm.

Keep Home Entrances Closed

Entrances to your home are the enemy during a freezing electrical blackout. When your gas furnace is no longer pumping heat throughout your house, it’s not the best time to crack a window for fresh air.

Since an electrical blackout is likely the result of an extreme weather event, it’s also true that you’re probably home-bound for the day anyway. While keeping warm inside, close and lock all your doors and windows. Any chance for heat to escape or cold air to enter will likely make you more uncomfortable.

Seal All Cracks, Crevices, and Openings Before Winter

Preparing for the winter before you experience an extreme blizzard will also help keep you comfortable. Like open doors and windows can allow large amounts of cold air inside, small cracks, crevices, and spaces between your home’s structure can make your home progressively colder. 

Use weatherproofing chemicals and sealant tape to amend any cracks or warping of the wood around your doors and windows. Additionally, hire professionals to check your home’s insulation and ensure it can keep you as warm as possible. If you didn’t take precautions before winter, put warm towels around cracks and crevices in your doorways to block extra air from entering.

Lay in Bed with a Hot Water Bottle or Pack

While remaining cold in your home isn’t always ideal, it can be a great excuse to take a day in bed. Get under the covers with warm blankets and pillows to keep yourself warm during extreme cold. Snuggling with loved ones can also provide some helpful body heat.

Cook, Eat, and Drink Warm Foods and Beverages

Unsurprisingly, you won’t want to eat cold foods when your gas furnace is down from an electrical outage. As a result, it’s best to consume hot food and beverages during these times. 

Even holding a hot tea can help warm your hands and face. Not to mention, the steam from hot cooking can heat your home a little.

Troubleshooting Steps if Your Furnace Doesn’t Start Working After Power Returns

Your furnace should begin functioning normally when electricity returns. However, there are some cases where this may not occur. Try some of these troubleshooting steps to determine whether your furnace has a problem that needs professional attention.

Some troubleshooting steps include:

Enlist Professional HVAC Services From Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning

For more answers to the question “will a gas furnace work without electricity” or to schedule furnace installation or repair from experienced professionals in El Cajon, call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning at (619) 403-2823 today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *