Furnace’s Control Board is Bad? Here’s What to Check

Do you smell that? Is it the smell of burnt plastic or electronics? Then it’s probably your furnace’s control board that went bad.

Control boards can go bad for many reasons. A lot of times, a short circuit in the board will cause it to fry.

Other times, an electrical component will malfunction and cause strange behavior. Or if your furnace won’t turn on at all.

In this article, I’ll discuss what to check if your furnace’s control board is bad. I’ll also tell you how to replace a control board in your furnace.

How to check if your furnace’s control board is bad

Before you decide to condemn your control board, you need to first look at a few things. A lot of times the control board isn’t the thing that causes issues in a furnace. That’s why it’s important to figure out if your control board is even bad in the first place.

Here’s what you need to do:

Remove the furnace’s access panels

Take off the front access panels to your furnace. The control board is usually located in the bottom access, near the blower.

Inspect the control board

Take a look at the control board. Does it have any burn marks? Are there any weird smells coming from it?

Sometimes a control board will have obviously blown up. In that case, your control board is definitely bad.

Check the control board diagnostic light

The next thing that you should check is the control board’s diagnostic/indicator light.

Usually, the diagnostic light will blink a certain number of times, depending on what is going on in the control board. For example, 3 flashes could mean that the furnace’s inducer pressure switch is not triggering.

furnace control board diagnostic light

Or if your control board has no power, then the light won’t be on at all. Checking the control board’s diagnostic light will tell you exactly what is going on with the furnace.

In fact, most times there won’t be any issue with the control board itself, and the issue is coming from one of the furnace’s other components.

Check the control board fuse

If your circuit board loses power, it could be due to a blown fuse.

The fuse that’s in most furnace circuit boards is a 3-amp blade fuse. These are the same types of fuses that you can get at any auto parts store.

The easiest way to tell if your circuit board’s fuse is blown is to look at the center area of the fuse. If it looks like there is a black puff of smoke in the fuse, then the fuse is blown.

HVAC control board fuse good versus blown visual comparison

If your circuit board’s fuse is blown, it’s usually due to one of two things:

  1. A short circuit somewhere in your thermostat wiring
  2. A bad component on the circuit board (such as a relay)
furnace circuit board fuse

Test power going into the control board

If the control board’s diagnostic light is not blinking, then you need to check for power going into the control board.

Find the wire that powers up the control board. The wire is usually black and labeled as 120VAC Hot. If your furnace has a door switch, you need to make sure that it is pressed in. Use some tape to keep the switch pressed down.

If your control board has 120 volts AC going into it, then it has power. If your control board has power, but its diagnostic light is not on, then the control board is likely bad and needs to be replaced. NOTE: You’ll need a multimeter to test for power in your furnace. 

Test the control board transformer

Some control boards require a separate 24-volt power source from an external transformer. In some cases the transformer can go bad, causing the control board to turn off from lack of power.

If your furnace has a transformer, you can check the output voltage of the transformer using a multimeter.

Use the AC voltage setting on your multimeter to measure the voltage on the 24-volt side of the transformer:

  • If you measure around 24-28 volts coming out of the transformer, then the transformer is okay.
  • If the voltage coming out of the transformer is way below 24 volts, or the transformer is making an excessive buzzing noise, then the transformer is bad.

Jump the thermostat terminals

After you confirm that there is power going into the control board, you’re going to do some tests.

First, turn off your furnace. Next, using a wire, connect the ‘R’ and ‘G’ terminals. Turn your furnace back on– the blower should come on.

To test the heating, connect the ‘R’ and ‘W’ terminals instead (see pictures below). To test the cooling, jump the ‘R’ and ‘Y’ terminals.

If your furnace turns on after jumping its terminals, then there is no issue with your furnace control board. The problem is likely the thermostat instead.

Jumping a furnace control board blower wiring
Jump the control board’s R and G terminals to start the blower
Jumping a furnace control board heating wiring
Jump the control board’s R and W terminals to test for heating

Test the power coming out of the control board

The next thing to check is if there is power coming out of your control board. This is tricky because you need to know what each terminal on the control board is for.

Begin by using your multimeter to test the outputs from the control board. Most control boards use relays to switch on and off different parts such as the blower, ignitor, and gas valve.

Most furnaces have a wiring diagram printed on the inside of their door or panel. The wiring diagram is useful for figuring out what points you need to test.

You’ll also need to know the furnace’s sequence of operations. Sometimes, a control board won’t turn on your furnace because of some other issue, like a pressure or high limit switch.

If there are no other issues with your furnace, and there is no voltage output to the furnace components, then it’s likely that your control board is bad. 

What to do if your furnace control board is bad

Unfortunately, if you have a bad control board, you cannot do much besides replace it. While it may be true that you can solder on a replacement component, it’s not worth it most of the time. 

Replacing a control board can be a complex task since there are many wires connected to it.

Also, you’ll need to make sure that you get the right replacement control board.

When replacing a control board, I usually take a picture of the existing board, that way I can see how it was wired. Then I can refer back to the picture if I run into any issues when installing the new board.

As with everything else, if you’re unsure about working on your furnace’s control board yourself, it’s probably best to leave it to an HVAC professional.

How to replace a furnace control board

Replacing a furnace’s control board is a fairly complex task that should only be done by those with sufficient know-how.

If you’re still dead-set on swapping out your furnace’s control board yourself, follow these steps below:

  1. Turn off the power to your furnace. Shutting off the power to your furnace is a critical step since you will be working with wires and electrical circuits inside the furnace. You don’t want to get shocked!

  2. Open up the furnace. The next thing to do is to remove the access panels from your furnace so you can get to the control board. Depending on the model of the furnace, you may have to remove other parts to access the control board.

    Once you get a clear view of the control board, take a few pictures of the board and its wirings. The pictures will come in handy later when you’re trying to reconnect everything.

  3. Disconnect wires from the control board. The control board will have all kinds of wires and connectors attached to it. Remove all of them so that nothing else is connected to the board. 

  4. Remove the control board from the furnace. After you disconnect all the wires, remove the control board from the furnace. The control board is usually held in by a few screws.

  5. Install replacement control board into the furnace. Now it’s time to install the new control board.

    At this point, it’s a good time to set any dip switches or jumpers if your control board has them. Just follow the same switch/jumper settings that your old control board has.

    To install the new control board, screw it down inside the furnace the same way that the old one was.

  6. Reconnect wires to the new control board. Now it’s time to make all the connections. Use your pictures of the old control board as a reference (you remembered to take pictures right?). Reconnect all of the wires and connectors into the new control board.

  7. Close up the furnace. Now it’s time to put everything back together! If you had to disassemble anything extra to get to your control board, don’t forget to put those pieces back too. Close up your furnace by putting all of its access panels back.

  8. Turn the power back on and test. Finally, the moment of truth. Turn the power back on to your furnace and test its operation at the thermostat. 

If everything is working again- great! 

If your furnace is still not working, it could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • There is another issue with the furnace (limit switch, flame sensor, etc.)
  • The thermostat is not working
  • The wiring on the control board is wrong

In any of the above cases, you’ll need to do some further troubleshooting. It might be that your furnace’s control board wasn’t even bad in the first place. That’s why it’s important to check your furnace’s control board first. 

Hi, my name is Trey Lewis and I’m the founder and chief editor at HVAC Training Shop. My goal for this website is to help homeowners troubleshoot and maintain their home’s HVAC systems. Whether it’s changing an air filter, troubleshooting a blower motor, or just buying a new humidifier, I want to make sure that you’re covered.

15 thoughts on “Furnace’s Control Board is Bad? Here’s What to Check”

  1. Hi – This is just an EXCELLENT, well-written source of info for DIY’rs such as myself, so thank you.
    I have a Rheem on which I’ve done considerable work over the years, and the heating system has been running AOK, but I’ve run into a problem as the weather has warmed up.
    Bottom line, having switched to cooling, I’m getting 24v C/G to start the blower, but no C/Y voltage to start the compressor. Of course, the thermostat (Ecobee) thinks everything is ok. So, before I tear off the control board to try to trace the problem with no schematic, I thought I’d run this by you, hopefully to get a yea or nay about a new board being in my future.
    Any guidance would be most sincerely appreciated, and thanks again for the Training Shop pages.

    • Hi Mel,

      Appreciate your comment!

      If there is no voltage at the Y terminal my first suspicion is the thermostat. The thermostat is responsible for sending 24V from the R terminal to the Y terminal. Have you tried jumping the R and Y terminals on the control board? If the compressor starts when you jump the R and Y terminals, then the control board is ok.

      Hope this helps,

  2. my control board goes into a soft lockout for 30min a few times. recently went went completely off for 24hrs or so no power what so ever till the following day. had a tech come look at it before it came back on and said i need to replace my circuit board. its under warranty through the manufacture . but if it came back on do you think is the board ? can it be something else causing it to shut off for hours no power/no led red light.

    • Hi Cesar,

      Did the tech check the transformer? Some control boards have the transformer built into them, while others have a separate transformer. Some boards don’t have a transformer at all.


  3. my heater keeps going out. It will come on when switched but as soon as the flame comes on it goes right back out. Flame sensor has been replaced and it still does the same thing. Fuse maybe? bad thermostat? Im at the end of my rope

  4. When I jump r and w at the board nothing happens other than the hum gets louder.
    New board, New transformer
    When I use the thermostat I loose power to the board it seems.
    The blower will come on when I switch it on at the thermostat

  5. Hell Trey,
    Here’s a puzzle for you. I have a Trane gas furnace horizontally mounted. It has a White-Rogers control board 50A65-475-07, D341396P01; the (4) wires from the blower motor BK, BL, RD, YL are landed on COOL, HEAT, PARK, PARK respectively. Several months ago I smelled something burning and could never find it. Last week doing normal inspections I found the severe burns on the YL (PARK) wire and CKT BD around it. However it still seems to be running ok. I’ve gone thround the cooling season and now in heating and it seems to be working normally. I have a spare 50A065-5165 which should be a direct replacement except it has a component RV1 next to the YL (PARK) spade which doesn;t seem to be on the original board (unless it’s completely obliterated). I’m hesitant to replace it for fear the motor is the culpret and could damage the new board if I do. I can send you some pics if interested.. Thoughts?

  6. Just replaced my control board, my igniter was melted together, now I get 6 flashes, flame failure, not too sure where to look for next

  7. In regard to step #3 (remove all wires), particularly since this information seems geared to DIY, rather than pull all the wires off of the control board and refer to a picture when installing new board, much, much easier to transfer the wires from old board to new board one at a time, before removing the old board, then mount the new.

    You should still take a photo as additional reference, but relying completely on the photos is problematic in that terminal designations can be obscured by wiring and shadow.

  8. Well written article to help troubleshoot control board issues. Thank you! I followed the logic in your article to troubleshoot White-Rodgers
    50A50-241 Control board in my YORK HVAC unit. My Nest thermostat reported no power. So, I went to the HVAC unit for troubleshooting. Confirmed with multimeter that board is getting 120v input when door switch is pressed. Transformer is getting 120V from the board and 27V output sent back to the board. But no voltage at the terminals where thermostat wires terminate (YWRGC) and LED on the board is off (not blinking). I replaced the board with exact same model (refurbished) from Amazon. Same issue. It could be that the second board is also faulty but I am wondering if there is anything else I missed?


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