How to Turn on a Furnace

When it comes to turning on a furnace, knowing the steps is crucial. From checking the thermostat to lighting the pilot light, each task plays a vital role in ensuring your furnace operates efficiently.

But what about those instances when the furnace doesn't start as expected? There might be underlying issues that need troubleshooting. Understanding the process thoroughly can save you from potential hazards and costly repairs down the line.

So, let's break down the steps to help you navigate the process seamlessly and with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • Set thermostat to heat mode with higher temperature.
  • Follow manufacturer's guidelines for pilot light.
  • Check pilot light for steady flame.
  • Ensure proper gas flow control for safety.

Checking the Thermostat

To begin, ensure the thermostat is set to heat mode and the temperature is higher than the current room temperature. This step is crucial for activating the furnace to provide warmth. Once you have confirmed these settings, locate the pilot light. The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas burner in your furnace. It's essential for the heating process to begin. You can typically find the pilot light behind a panel on the furnace.

If your furnace has an electronic ignition system, you won't need to manually light the pilot light. In this case, the system will automatically ignite the gas when heat is required. However, if your furnace has a standing pilot light, you may need to follow specific instructions to relight it if it has gone out. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for your particular furnace model when dealing with the pilot light to ensure proper operation.

Locating the Pilot Light

To locate the pilot light, begin by identifying the pilot light assembly near the bottom of your furnace.

Make sure to locate the gas valve with options for On, Off, and Pilot.

Follow the specific instructions for lighting the pilot light to ensure safe and efficient operation of your furnace.

Find Pilot Light Location

Located near the bottom of the furnace unit, you'll typically find the pilot light assembly. When locating the pilot light, consider the following:

  • Look for the valve with settings for On, Off, and Pilot to identify the pilot light.
  • Understand the importance of knowing the location of the gas feed valve to find the pilot light.
  • Check near the burner assembly as the pilot light assembly is often situated close by.
  • Be aware that the pilot light location may vary slightly based on the specific make and model of your furnace.
  • Take note of any labels or indicators that may guide you to the pilot light's exact position.

Understanding these points will help you efficiently locate the pilot light on your furnace.

Check Gas Valve

Check the gas valve near the bottom of your furnace to ensure proper functioning and safety when locating the pilot light.

The gas valve, typically located at the base of the furnace, controls the flow of gas to the pilot light assembly. It usually has settings for On, Off, and Pilot. Before attempting to light the pilot, ensure the gas valve is turned to the Off position.

Understanding how to operate this valve correctly is crucial to prevent gas leaks and ensure a successful furnace ignition. Identifying the gas feed valve's location provides you with the knowledge needed to control the flow of gas to the pilot light effectively.

Proceed with caution and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific furnace model.

Light Pilot Using Instructions

Locating the pilot light is crucial for successfully igniting your furnace and ensuring efficient gas flow to the heating system. Here's how to find the pilot light:

  • Look for the pilot light near the bottom of the furnace, usually close to the gas valve.
  • Identify the pilot light assembly, which typically includes an On, Off, and Pilot valve.

Familiarize yourself with the location of the gas feed valve before proceeding.

Knowing where the pilot light assembly is located is the first step in safely lighting the pilot.

Take note of any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer for your furnace model.

Turning Off Gas Supply

First, locate the gas valve on your furnace and switch it to the Off position. Ensure the valve is securely turned off to prevent any gas from reaching the furnace.

Confirm that the pilot light is out and there are no gas odors before proceeding with any maintenance tasks.

Gas Shut-off Procedure

To safely shut off the gas supply to your furnace, locate the gas feed valve near the bottom of the unit and turn it to the Off position. It's crucial to wait for at least five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate before proceeding. Shutting off the gas supply is an essential safety step before working on the furnace to prevent potential hazards.

  • Locate the gas feed valve near the bottom of the furnace.
  • Turn the valve to the Off position to stop the gas flow.
  • Wait for at least five minutes for residual gas to dissipate.
  • Shutting off the gas supply is a crucial safety measure.
  • Prevent potential gas leaks or hazards by turning off the gas feed valve.

Safety Precautions

For safety reasons, ensure the gas supply to the furnace is turned off before proceeding with any maintenance or repairs.

To do this, locate the gas feed valve typically found near the furnace. Look for a valve with settings for On, Off, and Pilot. Turn the valve to the Off position, perpendicular to the gas line, to shut off the gas supply completely.

Wait for approximately five minutes to allow any remaining gas to disperse, reducing the risk of fire hazards.

Always verify that the gas supply is off by checking for any hissing sounds or the smell of gas.

Resetting the Furnace

Resetting the furnace involves switching the furnace valve to the Pilot setting to prepare for re-lighting the pilot light. Follow these steps to successfully reset your furnace:

  • Press and hold the reset button on the pilot control panel to allow gas to flow to the pilot light.
  • Hold a lit match or use an automatic igniter to ignite the pilot light at the pilot opening.
  • Switch the furnace valve back to the On position after successfully re-lighting the pilot light.
  • Verify that the pilot light is burning brightly and consistently to ensure proper furnace operation.

Lighting the Pilot Light

After successfully resetting your furnace by relighting the pilot light, the next step is to ensure proper lighting of the pilot light.

The pilot light in older natural gas furnaces serves to ignite gas released through a valve when the furnace turns on. If the pilot light goes out, possible reasons include the gas being shut off, airflow issues, a faulty thermocouple, or dirt/dust affecting fuel intake.

A red or yellow pilot light indicates a fuel supply issue. To relight the pilot light, start by turning off the furnace and following the manufacturer's instructions. Then, switch the gas valve to pilot, hold the reset button, and proceed to light the pilot manually or automatically.

If you encounter difficulties in relighting the pilot light, it's advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure safety and proper functioning of your furnace.

Observing the Furnace

When observing the furnace, ensure the thermostat is set to 'heat' and the desired temperature. Here are some crucial steps to follow:

  • Listen for the sound of the furnace turning on and the blower starting: Pay attention for any audible cues that the system is activating.
  • Look for any error codes or warning lights on the furnace display: Check the display panel for any indicators of potential issues.
  • Inspect the air vents to feel for warm air coming out once the furnace is on: Verify that warm air is circulating properly through the vents.
  • Monitor the furnace for any unusual sounds, smells, or operations that may indicate a problem: Be vigilant for any signs of malfunction that could signal the need for maintenance.
  • Check the pilot light: Ensure that the pilot light is on and burning steadily; if it's out, follow the appropriate steps to relight it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get My Furnace to Turn On?

To get your furnace to turn on, troubleshoot by checking the pilot light, gas feed, and furnace settings. Ensure the pilot light is lit, gas is flowing, and the furnace is set to On. Follow safety guidelines and manufacturer instructions.

Can You Just Turn Your Furnace On?

You can turn your furnace on once all maintenance checks are complete. Ensure thermostat settings are correct, gas supply is on, and the pilot light is lit. Listen for odd noises and smells. Monitor for proper function.

Where Is the on Switch on a Furnace?

To properly maintain your furnace, locate the On switch on the main control panel near the bottom. It is typically labeled 'On' or marked with a power symbol. Activating this switch starts the furnace operation effectively.

How Do I Start My Furnace for the Winter?

To keep your furnace running smoothly during winter, prioritize furnace maintenance. Ensure the gas feed valve is on, locate the pilot light, follow manufacturer's instructions, ignite the pilot light, and seek professional help if needed.


Congratulations on successfully turning on your furnace! Did you know that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating accounts for about 45% of energy bills in American homes? By understanding how to safely operate your furnace, you can help reduce your energy costs and ensure a warm and comfortable environment for your household.

Remember to perform regular maintenance to keep your furnace running efficiently.

Stay warm and cozy!

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