Does a steam furnace need electricity to start?

3 Answers

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes. I have a Utica furnace, steam radiators. I went off the Emergency Shut-off, turned the switch to off position, opened it and took off the neutral wire nut, made a 5' home-made cord and plug (non-polarized/ the terminals of the plug having one big and one small blade). Wire it so the black (positive) is going to the small blade and white (neutral) is going to the big blade. I used an extension cord to run from the home-made plug to a cigarette lighter style inverter in my car. I was turning my furnace on manually for the last 5 days and nights like this. Lucky if you have a battery back-up or generator. Make sure you don't back-feed any electricity to the fuse box. If you want, take the switch off and only use the wires that are running to the furnace.

  • Rick M
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    Actually, it's called a boiler even though it does not produce steam at all. It circulates hot water (or glycol) through the system with an electric pump. The controls for the boiler are also electric, so yes. They do require electricity. The boilers are equipped with safety features that won't allow the gas valve to open without electrical power.

  • Greg D
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Some steam boilers do NOT need electricity to operate. The system uses a thermocouple or thermopile to run the controls. A thermocouple generates voltage off the pilot's heat.

    Source(s): HVAC/R Service Tech
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