Brrr! Winter is here and the freezing temperatures outside are a sure sign that the furnace needs to be turned on. However, if it’s your first time using a furnace, or you’re not sure how to get it up and running, this task can seem daunting. Don’t worry, though, in this article, we’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to turn on your furnace and ensure you stay warm during the chilly winter season. Let’s get started!

1. Understanding your furnace control panel

Before you can turn on your furnace, you need to understand how your furnace control panel works. This control panel is typically located near the furnace and contains buttons and switches for turning on and regulating the heat.

Buttons and Switches

The buttons and switches on your furnace control panel can vary depending on the make and model of your furnace. Some common buttons and switches you may encounter include the power switch, fan speed selection, and temperature controls.

It is important to read the user’s manual of your furnace to understand the functions of each button or switch on the control panel to avoid any confusion while operating your furnace.


The thermostat is a small device that is usually mounted on the wall and connected to your furnace control panel. It controls the temperature in your home by sending signals to your furnace to turn on or off. The thermostat can be adjusted to your preferred temperature based on your comfort level.

It is important to ensure the thermostat is set to the correct temperature, and it is functioning correctly before turning on your furnace. A malfunctioning thermostat can prevent your furnace from operating efficiently, leading to high energy bills and possible damage to your furnace.

Now that you understand the various components of the furnace control panel, it’s time to take safety precautions before turning on your furnace.

2. Safety precautions before turning on your furnace

Ensure Safe and Comfortable Heating at Home

Before turning on your furnace, there are a few important safety precautions that you need to keep in mind to prevent any accidents and ensure safe and comfortable heating at home. Here are some essential safety tips that you should follow:

Check for Gas Leaks

If you have a gas furnace, it’s important to check for gas leaks before turning it on.
Warning: Do not turn on the furnace if you smell gas.
Check the gas lines, valves, and connections carefully for leaks. If you detect any gas odor or notice any suspicious sounds, call your gas supplier or a professional HVAC technician immediately.

Check the Air Filters

Check the air filters of your furnace and replace them if they’re dirty or clogged. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace and may cause it to overheat and malfunction, which can be a potential fire hazard.
Tip: Check your air filters every month and replace them every 3-6 months.

Clear Obstructions

Make sure that the area around your furnace is free of any obstructions such as furniture, boxes, or other items that can block the airflow or cause a fire hazard. Keep flammable materials at least three feet away from the furnace.

Test the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly by testing them regularly. Replace the batteries and test them at least once a month to ensure that they are working effectively.
Tip: Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace to ensure that you and your family are safe from any carbon monoxide leaks.

By following these safety precautions, you can ensure that your furnace is operating safely and efficiently, providing you with warm and comfortable heating during the cold winter months.

3. Steps to turn on a gas furnace

Gas furnaces are a common and efficient way to heat your home during the colder months. Here are the steps you need to follow to turn on your gas furnace:

Step 1: Locate the furnace control panel

Before starting, ensure that the gas supply and power are both turned on and the thermostat is set to heat mode. You can then locate the furnace control panel, usually found near the bottom of the unit.

Step 2: Turn on the furnace

Once the control panel is located, locate the pilot light switch and switch it on. Most newer gas furnaces have an electronic igniter that eliminates the need to light a pilot light manually. If your furnace has an electronic igniter, turn on the power, set the thermostat to heat mode, and wait for the furnace to start.

Step 3: Adjust the settings

Once the furnace is running, adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature. Remember that higher settings will increase your energy consumption and may result in higher bills. You can also adjust the fan speed and other settings based on your preferences and the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: If your furnace fails to start or there are any issues with the heating system, turn the power off immediately and call a professional. Do not attempt to fix any issues on your own as this can be dangerous and may cause further damage to your furnace.

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively turn on your gas furnace. Remember to always prioritize safety and seek professional help if needed.

4. Steps to turn on an electric furnace

To turn on an electric furnace, follow these steps:

Step 1: Check the Thermostat

Firstly, ensure that the thermostat is set to your desired temperature. The thermostat is a temperature-sensitive device that turns the furnace on or off, based on the temperature settings. Therefore, it is crucial to check the thermostat to ensure it is functioning correctly and is set correctly.

Step 2: Turn on the Power

Next, locate the power switch that controls the furnace, typically near the furnace. Turn on the switch by flipping it to the ON position. If there is no switch, ensure that the furnace is plugged into a power outlet.

Step 3: Test the Furnace

After turning on the power, check the furnace to see if it is functioning correctly. If the furnace is functioning correctly, warm air should start blowing out of the vents. However, if the furnace isn’t working, switch it off immediately, and don’t attempt to fix it yourself. A professional technician should handle any issues.

In summary, turning on an electric furnace requires checking the thermostat, turning on the power, and testing the furnace. Remember to seek professional assistance if the furnace isn’t functioning correctly.

5. Common furnace problems and troubleshooting tips

Even if you take good care of your furnace, it’s natural for some problems to arise at some point. Here are some you should know.

Furnace Not Turning On

One of the most common furnace problems is when it doesn’t turn on, leaving you with no heat. If this is the case, the first thing you should check is the thermostat. Make sure the thermostat is set to “heat” and that the temperature is above room temperature. If it’s still not turning on, check the furnace’s power switch and make sure it’s turned on. If it’s still not working, you may need to check the circuit breaker or call a professional to fix it.

Furnace Blowing Cold Air

If your furnace is blowing cold air, it might be due to a dirty air filter. A dirty air filter can block the airflow, forcing the furnace to work harder to circulate air. Check the filter and replace it if it’s dirty. Another possibility is a malfunctioning thermostat. Check the thermostat’s settings to make sure it’s set to “heat”. If neither of these solutions works, you can try to reset your furnace or call a professional.

Furnace Making Strange Noises

If your furnace is making strange noises, it’s a sign that something may be wrong. The most common noise is a “banging” or “popping” sound, which can be caused by a dirty burner, a loose belt, or a malfunctioning ignition. A high-pitched whistling noise, on the other hand, could be due to a clogged air filter or a problem with the blower motor. If you hear any of these noises, you should turn off your furnace and call a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.

Knowing how to troubleshoot common furnace problems can save you time, money, and frustration. However, if you’re not comfortable handling any furnace repair or maintenance tasks, it’s always best to call a professional. Remember, regular furnace maintenance is also crucial to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently.

6. Importance of regular furnace maintenance

Regular maintenance of your furnace is crucial for its proper functioning and longevity. It not only ensures that your furnace is working at its optimal level, but also helps in saving energy and money in the long run.

1. Efficient Heating
Regular maintenance of your furnace ensures that it is clean and free of any dust, dirt, or debris that can cause blockages or poor circulation of air. A well-maintained furnace will heat your home more efficiently and distribute heat evenly throughout your home.

2. Saves Money
Regular furnace maintenance helps in saving money on energy bills by ensuring that the furnace is working at its optimal level and not using excess energy to heat your home. In addition, regular maintenance helps in identifying and fixing any minor issues before they turn into major and expensive repairs.

3. Extends Lifespan
A well-maintained furnace has a longer lifespan compared to a neglected one. Regular furnace maintenance helps in identifying and fixing any minor issues before they turn into major repairs that can cause irreparable damage to your furnace.


Regular furnace maintenance is essential for its efficient functioning, longevity, and saving money on energy bills. It is recommended to get your furnace serviced by a professional at least once a year to ensure that your furnace is working properly and efficiently.

7. Benefits of hiring a professional for furnace services

If you are not familiar with furnace systems, it’s always best to hire a professional for any furnace services including installation, maintenance, and repairs. Here are some benefits of hiring a professional furnace service technician:

  1. Experience and Expertise: Furnace professionals have the knowledge and expertise to identify, diagnose, and fix furnace problems. They can also provide useful tips to keep your furnace working efficiently. Professional furnace technicians are familiar with various makes and models of furnaces, so they can help you choose the right furnace for your home.
  2. Enhanced Safety: Furnace services require precise skills and tools to ensure safe installation, maintenance, and repairs. Professional furnace technicians are equipped with the necessary safety equipment, and they know how to handle hazardous materials that may be involved in a furnace system.
  3. Time and Cost-Efficient: If you try to DIY your furnace repairs, you might end up wasting time and money on a repair that doesn’t solve the problem. Hiring a professional furnace technician can save you time and money through their swift and effective services.
  4. Warranty Protection: If your furnace is still under warranty, you risk voiding the warranty if a non-professional repairs or maintains your furnace. Hiring a professional furnace technician ensures that your furnace is being repaired or maintained to warranty specifications, and thus, your furnace warranty stays valid.

Overall, it’s always best to have a professional furnace technician handle any repairs or maintenance for your furnace to ensure optimal performance and safety. Their expertise and experience offer peace of mind, leaving you with a well-functioning furnace for your home.

People Also Ask

How do I turn on my furnace pilot light?

To turn on your furnace pilot light, locate the gas valve and turn it to “pilot.” Press and hold down the reset button while holding a flame to the pilot light. Once the pilot is lit, continue holding the reset button for approximately 30 seconds before releasing it.

How do I turn on my electric furnace?

To turn on an electric furnace, locate the circuit breaker labeled “furnace” and flip it to the “on” position. Then, adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature. The furnace should automatically turn on and begin heating the space.

How do I turn on my gas furnace?

To turn on a gas furnace, locate the gas valve and turn it to “on.” Adjust your thermostat to the desired temperature and wait for the furnace to automatically turn on and begin heating.

What should I check if my furnace won’t turn on?

If your furnace won’t turn on, start by checking the thermostat to ensure it’s set to “heat” and set to the desired temperature. Next, check the furnace’s filter and replace it if it’s dirty. If these steps don’t work, check the circuit breaker and gas supply to ensure there are no issues.

How often should I turn on my furnace?

It’s recommended to turn on your furnace at least once a month, even during the offseason, to ensure it’s functioning properly. This helps prevent issues and ensures the furnace is ready to go when you need it.


Knowing how to turn on your furnace is essential to ensure a comfortable and warm home during the colder months. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your furnace’s specific controls and always follow proper safety protocols when working with gas or electricity. If you’re ever unsure or encounter issues, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.