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Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing Blog

This Sensor Could Be Forcing Your Furnace to Shut Down Early

Your furnace has a lot of working parts that rely on one another to handle various operations. Some are vital, some are helpful but won’t cause a full breakdown if they’re experiencing some issues, but this little sensor? It can prevent your furnace from even starting in the first place.

The flame sensor is the reason we see a lot of Brighton heating repair requests. When this seemingly small component isn’t working, it can make your entire furnace look like it’s broken. Before you jump to conclusions and think that you have to repair your furnace because it won’t turn on, read this.

Your Flame Sensor Is a Safety Device

If your furnace were to turn on, but the ignition fails, you have a problem: there’s now an open line of gas just spilling into your air supply. That not only wastes gas, but it turns your home into a tinderbox. That flame sensor, as you might expect, senses whether or not there’s an active flame.

If there is an active flame, it lets the flow of gas continue, and the gas burns as it’s designed to. Your furnace flourishes, you’re warm, you know the drill–it’s another winter with a great heater at your side. When the flame’s gone? This sensor shuts down the flow of gas as a safety precaution, protecting you and your family.

It’s an important feature, but when it can’t detect a flame anymore, it quickly paints your furnace as the culprit. In reality, it’s a maintenance issue at best.

Here’s the Issue at a Glance

Your flame sensor may not even be broken. In fact, it might just be dirty. It’s a small component, so when it deals with all the results of burning gas, soot and debris begin to muck up the sensor. It can’t detect a flame because it’s blocked, not because anything is truly broken.

We wish it were as simple as saying, “Go wipe it down” and everything would be fine, but it’s not that simple. This isn’t a DIY-friendly solution that you can carry out on your own, and here’s why.

Cleaning Your Flame Sensor Is Intricate

Despite your flame sensor being rather small, it has a lot of working parts, each of which needs to be cleaned. The furnace needs to be shut down, the gas line needs to be closed, then the sensor is removed, disassembled–you see where we’re going with this: it’s a long, arduous process.

It’s a multi-step process that you’re probably capable of doing, but when that sensor is put back together and attached to your furnace once again, you need to be 100% certain that it will continue to do its job. You’ve never seen it do its job before, you don’t know what to look for, but a certified, experienced technician does. That’s the difference.

We Sense a Solution

While it’s not fun when the sensor in your furnace dies out, it’s thankfully not the worst problem you could have. We’re here to help you with all of your furnace troubles, whether that’s a sensor or another problem. We’re equipped and ready to help you stay warm this winter, even if your furnace is fumbling.

Contact Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing today to schedule your heating repair as soon as possible.

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