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How The Flame Sensor In Your Furnace Is Repaired When It's Dirty Or Broken

The flame sensor in your furnace has an important job. It keeps gas from building up when the burner isn't working. Its purpose is to sense flames when the furnace kicks on. If it doesn't, it turns your furnace off so gas doesn't keep escaping into the furnace and into the room. Sometimes, the flame sensor can go bad. It's a fairly common furnace problem that requires repairs or your furnace may not heat your home. Here are signs of a bad flame sensor and how it's repaired.

Signs The Flame Sensor In Your Furnace Is Bad

When the flame sensor can't detect flames, your furnace shuts down. Your furnace may kick on and run for a few minutes and then turn off. This process may be repeated a few times until the furnace stops turning on altogether. If you suspect the flame sensor is bad, you can take a look at it if you feel comfortable doing so. If the ceramic housing is cracked, or if you see black soot on the sensor, those are signs that it needs cleaned or repaired.

Procedure For Cleaning The Sensor

The furnace repair person will remove the sensor from your furnace to clean it. The sensor looks like a thick straight or bent wire with a ceramic base. It can be detached for cleaning during a routine service call or when it malfunctions due to soot buildup. The sensing wire can be wiped clean with a regular paper towel or emery paper so the soot is removed and the sensor can accurately detect flames again. If you have the sensor cleaned during an annual service call, it should be good to last all winter without malfunctioning. While cleaning the sensor, the repair service may go ahead and clean soot off of the burners too so the flames burn clean.

Process For Replacing The Sensor

Replacing a bad sensor is a quick and easy task. The old sensor is disconnected from a wire and the proper replacement model is hooked up in its place. Flame sensors can wear out over time due to age and heat exposure. The intense heat can cause the ceramic bottom to crack. The ceramic housing is an insulator that keeps the sensor from grounding to the metal furnace. The sensor should be replaced when the insulator is cracked. A short circuit in the connecting wire can also cause problems with the sensor, and the metal end of the sensor can even develop rust that makes it malfunction. Whatever the cause, a malfunctioning flame sensor must be replaced or your furnace won't run long enough to keep your home warm.

For more information, contact a company like Doctor Fix-It