What to Do When Your Home’s Furnace Won’t Light

Heating and cooling units

Winter may be over, but that doesn’t mean you should be putting your furnace’s needs completely out of your mind — as next winter will be here sooner than you think. With many furnace repair contractors looking for work, now is the perfect time of the year to give your furnace the maintenance it needs.

And in most furnaces today, an electronic ignition switch is used to ignite its heating system instead of the traditional pilot light. While these switches are much more reliable, they can still fail — and your home won’t be heated.

If you’re finding yourself asking “Why is my furnace not lighting?” you’re certainly not alone — plenty of homeowners each year deal with similar problems in their heating and cooling systems. To get a better idea of the potential causes behind your furnace not lighting, here’s a list of the three most common factors that cause a furnace to fail to ignite:

The ignition switch needs replacing

The cause of your furnace’s problem might be simpler than you think — it might just mean its electric ignition switch is at the end of its lifespan, which typically lasts anywhere from three to five years. In this case, you can easily install a new ignition switch yourself, as it’s a fairly simple procedure.

Faulty control boards

If your furnace’s control board needs replacing, your ignition switch will fail to light until you get a new control board. While a new control board isn’t that expensive, you will most likely want to have a furnace repair specialist come in and install a new control board to ensure your furnace starts up without a problem at the start of next winter.

Simple troubleshooting problems

Other causes of faulty ignition switches include a range of simple troubleshooting issues within your furnace. For example, your furnace might fail to light because of a blown fuse, or its breaker may need to be tripped. Additionally, double-check your thermostat to see if it’s on the correct setting before spending money on a costly furnace repair. It sounds simple, but it’s more common than you think.

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