What To Do When Your Heater Doesn’t Turn On

So, you have finally convinced yourself to get out of your warm bed and begin your online holiday shopping. The only way to make it happen is by recreating that cozy feeling throughout the rest of your home. You tiptoe over to the heater, flip the switch, and wait…But, what should you do if it doesn’t turn on?

Before you convince an HVAC technician to make an emergency stop, there are a few things to check that might be preventing your heating system from performing at it’s best.


Sometimes the best answer is the simplest one. When you have a problem with your heater, check the thermostat. First, make sure the batteries in your console are new. Then check that it is set to heat. Finally, check the temperature that is set. If it is lower than the current room temperature of the house, the unit will not turn on.


Appliances, big and small, rely on electricity. Your gas furnace is one of the largest appliances in your home, and many of its features (i.e. ignition, fans, etc) use electricity to function. Check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers that may be preventing electricity from reaching your furnace. Make sure the power switch is in the ON position. Check the power cord for any damage. If you find any, do not turn on the unit and do not touch the cord. Please call an HVAC technician for repairs right away.

Fuel Source

If you have a gas furnace, it may be a problem with the gas line. Check other appliances, like the oven, to ensure that the gas supply is not turned off for the entire house.

Pilot Light

Does your furnace use a pilot light? Check that it is still lit. If it has gone out, make sure the sensor is clean and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. If this is a recurring problem, it may mean that the sensor requires maintenance.


Many heaters are able to remove humidity from the air, collect it in a reservoir, and pump it out of the house. But these reservoirs have a limited amount of space. If they become full, the heating system will shut down to prevent overflow that could damage the home. Make sure the collection pan is empty and check the pump for debris.

If your heater still hasn’t come out of hibernation, or you need some help checking it, give us a call at 800-994-2577. Want to learn more?  Connect with us on Facebook!