If your gas furnace isn't working and it's the middle of winter, you have a heating emergency on your hands. There are several reasons a gas furnace stops working, such as when the pilot light goes out or the gas supply is shut off. Another thing that affects your furnace is the flame sensor. This sensor is a safety device that can get dirty and malfunction. Here's a look at what the flame sensor does and how it's repaired and maintained.
How A Flame Sensor Works
When your furnace kicks on, gas is ignited and your furnace roars to life. At the same time, the flame sensor detects the flames and creates a small current that's sent to the control panel of your furnace. This is a safety feature that lets your furnace know the gas is burning and not accumulating around the furnace. However, the process of combustion creates soot and debris that eventually coats the ignition system of the furnace and when the sensor gets dirty, it can't detect flames so it doesn't send the electric signal to the control board and the furnace shuts down. A sign of a dirty flame sensor is when your furnace kicks on and then turns back off shortly after. It may do this several times in a row and then shut down for an extended time as a safety feature. When your furnace does this, it doesn't run long enough to keep your house warm and it stresses your furnace by causing it to shut on and off frequently.
How A Dirty Flame Sensor Is Cleaned And Maintained
A heating repair technician can test the sensor for an electrical signal to see how well it's working. If the signal is low or if the sensor is dirty with soot or dust, then the technician cleans it by rubbing the metal rod lightly with sandpaper or steel wool and then tests the electrical signal again. If the sensor still isn't working, it may need to be replaced if there's a crack in it or if it has other damage, however, cleaning is often all that's needed to fix flame sensor problems.
It's often possible to prevent dirty sensor problems from happening if you have annual maintenance on your furnace because cleaning the flame sensor is part of routine maintenance. During a service call, the heating repair technician cleans all the soot from the ignition system of your furnace so it starts the heating season clean and ready to operate properly. Also, if you keep the area around the furnace as clean as possible so dust and dirt don't get inside the furnace, that helps keep the sensor clean.
Contact a company, like Hospitality heating and air conditioning Inc, for more help.