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My furnace won’t turn on!

A simple checklist before calling for service.

Whether this is the first Michigan cold snap of the year or the February deep freeze, when your furnace won’t kick on it gets uncomfortable fast. Before you pick up the phone, follow the list below to see if it’s something you can do yourself.


The thermostat tells the heating system when to turn on and off. Any problems here and your furnace isn’t being signaled to start or run.

  • Confirm the programming is set to temperatures which will trigger the furnace.
  • Is the battery dead? Programmable thermostats typically use a 9-volt battery. Replace the battery if you can’t remember how long it has been in there.

Electric Power

All furnaces need electricity to function. No power, no heat.

  • Check your circuit breakers and cycle (turn off and then on) the breaker for the furnace. This will ensure that power is being delivered to the heating system.
  • Check the switch at the furnace. You will see a switch similar to a light switch. Things happen, especially if you have children. Turn it off, turn it on.


High-efficiency furnaces won’t turn on if there isn’t enough fuel pressure.

  • Are there any issues with your natural gas or propane? Technicians can measure the actual pressure, but a simple test is to check your other gas-fueled appliances to see if they are working correctly.
  • Is your gas stove slow to light?
  • Is your water heater working?

If you see indications of issues with your fuel delivery, call your utility or supplier. A heating technician has to charge for their time.

Air Flow

Insufficient air flow will keep your heater from running. High-efficiency furnaces cycle themselves prior to turning on the main burners. Without enough clean, replacement air the furnace would generate unsafe levels of carbon monoxide..

  • Is your air filter clogged? Replace it if in any doubt.
  • Is your outside air intake blocked or clogged? The best way to keep your indoor air healthy is to bring fresh air directly in to the furnace. Spiders, bugs. leaves and accumulated dust can restrict the amount of air coming in and cause a no-start condition.

If you reach the bottom of this list and your heater still won’t kick on, call the professionals at Aire Serv. They have the tools and the training to keep your home warm and safe. Schedule your appointment today.

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