5 Star Cooling & Heating

How to a Ignite Furnace

As homeowners in Lake Charles, LA, understanding how to safely ignite your furnace is not just a skill—it’s a necessity. With our region’s unique weather patterns, a reliable heating system is crucial for comfort and safety. At D&E Cooling and Heating, we’re committed to empowering you with the knowledge needed to manage your home’s heating effectively.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of furnace ignition. Whether you’re a new homeowner or simply looking to refresh your knowledge, this article is tailored to provide clear, easy-to-follow instructions. We’ll cover different furnace types, essential safety checks, a step-by-step ignition guide, troubleshooting common issues, and advice on when it’s best to call in professionals like us.

Remember, while it’s valuable to know how to ignite your furnace, safety should always be your top priority. Let’s ensure you’re well-equipped to handle your heating needs safely and efficiently.

Identifying Your Furnace Type

Heating Installation

One of the first steps in safely igniting your furnace is identifying its type. In Lake Charles, LA, the most common types are gas, electric, and oil furnaces. Each type has a unique ignition system and requires specific handling.

  1. Gas Furnaces: These are popular due to their efficiency and effectiveness. Gas furnaces use a pilot light assembly or an electric ignition. If you have an older model, it’s likely to have a standing pilot light that burns continuously. Newer models usually feature an electronic ignition system, which is safer and more energy-efficient.
  2. Electric Furnaces: These furnaces use electric heating elements to warm the air. Instead of a traditional ignition process, electric furnaces activate these elements when the thermostat signals a need for heat. They’re generally easier and safer to operate but can be less energy-efficient than utilizing a gas supply.
  3. Oil Furnaces: Less common in our area, oil furnaces require a burner to ignite the oil. Similar to gas furnaces, they can have either an electronic ignition system or an older-style continuous burner.

Understanding your furnace type is crucial because it determines the ignition process you’ll follow. Always refer to your furnace’s manual for specific guidance. Remember, if there’s ever any doubt or if you feel uncomfortable performing these tasks, we at D&E Cooling and Heating are here to assist.

Safety Protocols Before Ignition

Before attempting to ignite your furnace, prioritizing safety is essential. At D&E Cooling and Heating, we emphasize the importance of thorough checks and preparations to ensure a safe ignition process. Here are key safety protocols every homeowner in Lake Charles, LA should follow:

  1. Inspect the Area Around the Furnace: Ensure the area is clear of flammable materials, debris, and dust. A clean environment reduces the risk of fire hazards.
  2. Check for Gas Leaks (For Gas Furnaces): If you detect a sulfur-like smell (similar to rotten eggs), it could indicate a gas leak. In such cases, do not attempt to ignite the furnace. Evacuate immediately and contact us or your gas company.
  3. Verify the Gas Valve Position: For gas furnaces, ensure the gas valve is in the correct position. It should be set to ‘on’ to allow gas flow. If it’s off or in a different setting, adjust it accordingly.
  4. Ensure Proper Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is crucial for preventing the buildup of harmful gases, especially for gas and oil furnaces. Check that the vents and flues are unobstructed.
  5. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. These devices are critical for the early detection of dangerous situations.
  6. Review the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always consult the furnace’s manual for specific safety instructions and ignition procedures.

Remember, if you’re unsure about any step or if something doesn’t seem right, it’s better to be safe and seek professional help. We’re always here to assist you with your heating needs, ensuring your safety and comfort.

Detailed Guide to Safely Igniting Your Furnace

Heating and Cooling System Units

Igniting your furnace safely is a straightforward process when you follow these steps. Remember, these instructions are general guidelines; always refer to your specific furnace model’s manual for detailed instructions.

For Gas Furnaces:

  1. Set the Thermostat to the Lowest Setting: Before igniting the gas furnace, turn your thermostat to the lowest temperature setting to avoid triggering the heating cycle.
  2. Turn Off the Furnace: Locate the switch or the furnace pilot nozzle and turn it to the ‘off’ position. Wait for a few minutes to clear any residual gas pressure.
  3. Turn the Knob to ‘Pilot’: After ensuring that the area smells gas-free, turn the knob to the ‘pilot’ setting.
  4. Relight the Pilot Light Opening: While holding down the reset button or the pilot control, light the pilot with a long lighter. Keep the button pressed for about 30 seconds to a minute after lighting the pilot.
  5. Turn the Furnace On: Once the furnace’s pilot light stays lit, turn the knob to the ‘on’ position and adjust your thermostat to the desired temperature.

For Electric Furnaces:

These furnaces have electronic ignition systems and don’t require manual ignition. If your electric furnace isn’t turning on, check the circuit breaker and ensure the furnace switch is on. If problems persist, it may be time to call a professional.

For Oil Furnaces:

  1. Press the Reset Button: If your oil furnace has a reset button, press it. If the furnace doesn’t start, avoid pressing the button multiple times, as it can flood the burner with oil.
  2. Check Fuel Supply: Ensure there’s enough oil in the tank and that the valves are open.

If your furnace doesn’t ignite after these steps, it may indicate a more complex issue. In such cases, it’s best to contact us at D&E Cooling and Heating for expert assistance.

Expert Assistance: When to Contact D&E Cooling and Heating


While understanding how to ignite and troubleshoot your furnace is beneficial, there are times when professional assistance is crucial. Here at D&E Cooling and Heating, we want to ensure your safety and the optimal performance of your heating system. Here are scenarios when you should consider reaching out to us:

  1. Persistent Ignition Failures: If you’ve followed all the steps and your furnace still won’t ignite or stay lit, it’s time to call in the experts.
  2. Strange Noises or Smells: Unusual sounds or odors coming from your furnace are not normal. They can indicate serious issues that require immediate attention.
  3. Routine Maintenance and Inspections: Regular professional maintenance can prevent many common furnace problems. It’s a good practice to have your furnace inspected annually, especially before the colder months.
  4. Installation of New Equipment: If you’re considering upgrading or installing a new furnace, professional installation ensures safety and efficiency.
  5. Emergency Situations: In case of emergencies, such as suspected gas leaks or electrical issues, it’s imperative to seek professional help immediately.

Remember, your safety is our top priority. We’re here to provide reliable, efficient, and timely services to the homeowners of Lake Charles, LA, and surrounding areas. Whether you need routine maintenance, emergency repairs, or professional advice, you can count on D&E Cooling and Heating for all your heating needs.

Stay Warm and Safe with Expert Care 🏠🔥

As the cold sets in, remember that a properly functioning furnace is key to your comfort. For any furnace needs, from ignition assistance to routine maintenance, trust D&E Cooling and Heating to keep your home warm and safe. Reach out to us today for unparalleled service and peace of mind! Call now and stay cozy! 📞🌡️

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