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Gas Furnace Not Coming On? Check The Emergency Power Switch

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If your home feels a bit on the chilly side, you may think that your gas furnace is on its way to breaking down. Although a broken blower fan or another big issue can prevent your furnace from operating correctly, it may not always be the case. Sometimes, simple problems can keep a furnace from putting out warm air, including an emergency power switch placed in the "off" position instead of the "on" position. Placing the switch in the correct position may solve your furnace's heating problem. Here's what you should know about the emergency power switch and how you can keep from accidentally turning it off.

What's an Emergency Power Switch?

The emergency power switch is used to disrupt or "kill" electrical power to the furnace if the appliance catches fire or leaks gas. The power switch also ensures that the furnace maintains electrical power when it's in operation. You shouldn't confuse the emergency power switch with the power switch located on the side of the furnace's plenum, which is often used by heating specialists during inspections and repairs. 

The emergency power switch looks similar to the toggle of a light switch surrounded by a red face plate. The switch sits away from the furnace, such as at the very top of your stairs or outside the basement's door. Some emergency power switches reside outside the basement because it may be safer to access them during dangerous times.

It's important that the emergency power switch remains in the "on" position to keep the furnace running. If you're not careful, you can easily turn off the emergency power switch. For instance, if you're in a hurry to exit the basement, you can accidentally flip the emergency power switch off instead of the regular light switch. Because you didn't know that you turned off the power switch, you might not think to check it later when the furnace stops warming the home.

Turning the emergency power switch back may solve your problem. In addition, you can take steps to prevent this issue from happening again in the future.

How Can You Protect Your Emergency Power Switch?

One of the things you can do to keep from accidentally turning of the emergency power switch is place a protective clear shield over it. The shield features a large, rounded surface that blocks your hand when you go to turn off the switch's toggle. Most shields feature faces that require you to lift them up before you access the control switches beneath them. A liftable shield may remind you to not turn off the power switch. You can ask a heating contractor to install a shield for you, or you may purchase one from an Internet-based or local HVAC store and install it yourself.

If you can't find a shield for your emergency power switch, you can do other things to keep from turning the switch off. For instance, placing a large sign over the switch that reminds you and other people to not touch it may help eliminate the problem. You can also request that a heating repair technician move the switch to another location outside the basement and away from the regular light switch.

Although the power switch contains electrical wiring, it's important that you consult with a heating repair technician before you contact an electrician. Moving or disrupting the electrical wiring connecting the emergency power switch to the furnace may cause additional problems if the wires become damaged. You want to avoid this at all cost.

If you need more help in preventing problems with your furnace or the emergency power switch, call an HVAC company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.