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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Your Gas Furnace DOES Use Electricity: We’ll Explain How


Have you ever heard a person say something like this…? 

I’m sure glad I’ve got a gas-powered heating system. That way, if I have to deal with a power outage during the winter, my heating system will still run and keep me comfortable.

You may have thought something didn’t feel right with that logic. Gas-powered furnaces burn natural gas to run, and natural gas continues to flow to homes even if the power grid goes out. But can a gas furnace keep running if there’s no electricity?

You’re right to feel skeptical

At one time, when not all homes had access to electrical power, gas furnaces could still run without electricity. Basically, they were like gas ovens that let the heat rise up through pipes to the homes. Those days are long gone, and that’s a positive thing. Old furnaces like that were inefficient and could also be highly dangerous. 

The modern gas furnace is reliable, powerful, and can lower energy bills compared to an electric furnace. And one of the reasons for all these benefits is that gas furnaces have key electrical components. They don’t use electricity to heat the air, but they do use electricity to run. As we mentioned before, this is beneficial. 

The only time it becomes a problem is during a power outage. Thankfully, our mild cold weather means this is more likely to be an inconvenience than a life-threatening problem.

The ways your gas furnace uses electricity

There are numerous electrical parts in a gas furnace. We’re going to list several of the main parts in your gas furnace that use electricity:

  • The blower motor: Air has to move through a furnace to receive heat and then enter the ductwork, and this requires a powerful blower fan, which runs on an electric motor. (It’s likely that your AC relies on this same blower.) Without a blower motor, no air moves, and no heat gets to the house. 
  • The flame sensor: This device is a key safety component for a gas furnace. It detects if the burners are lit when the furnace is running. If it doesn’t detect flames from the burners, it shuts off the gas valve to prevent any further gas flow. Without power, it closes off the valve to help maintain safety. 
  • The electronic ignition system: Unless you have an old furnace with a standing pilot light, the furnace ignites the burners using an electronic igniter, either creating a spark or using a hot surface similar to the filament in a light bulb. Without electricity, the burners won’t ignite. 
  • The control board: This is the central “brain” of the furnace (as well as the rest of the HVAC system) that controls which parts turn on at which time. It’s filled with electric circuits and requires electricity to operate. Without it, a furnace cannot carry out any of its basic functions. Once again, this is a safety feature—you don’t want your furnace to run without the control board.

You can rely on our team for any furnace repair in Tarzana, CA you may need. Electric repairs are a common issue we deal with, and we understand both gas and electric furnaces inside and out.  

Call our certified service technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service! Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

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