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Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

This Sensor Could Be Stopping Your Furnace in its Tracks

Sometimes furnace problems are major and require extensive repairs. But other times, furnace problems are fairly small and simple. For example, the flame sensor in your furnace may be dirty or malfunctioning.

Anytime you notice your furnace operating differently or struggling to heat your home, you should call our team to schedule furnace repair in Puyallup, WA. You can keep reading to learn more about signs that the flame sensor in your furnace may be causing problems and what you can do about it.

What Is a Flame Sensor?

The flame sensor inside of your furnace is designed to identify whether or not a flame is active and burning gas. This serves two purposes. The first is to make sure that a flame is not active unless there is gas in the chamber. The second purpose is to make sure that the flame ignites the way it should when gas enters the chamber.

If a flame is active when it shouldn’t be, it poses fire hazards for your home. But if too much gas enters a chamber before the flame ignites, that poses unique hazards of its own. If too much gas builds up in the chamber and the flame ignites late, it can cause a mini explosion that can potentially crack your heat exchanger and allow carbon monoxide fumes to leak into your home.

Why Does a Flame Sensor Stop Working?

Flame sensors can wear down and quit working as your furnace ages. But a more common problem is for a flame sensor to be dirty and unable to light the flame. If you suspect that your furnace has a flame sensor problem, you can turn the unit completely off and allow it to cool down. 

Then open the door to the chamber where the flame sensor is located. Wipe down the surfaces, paying special attention to the flame sensor itself. It’s easy for dust, dirt, and soot to build up. Ideally, you want to complete this task once each month to stay on top of the buildup.

Homeowner Maintenance Tips

Aside from cleaning the flame sensor monthly, you can also be diligent with vacuuming and dusting around the furnace and the blower motor housing. Reducing the amount of dust and dirt that can get into your furnace to begin may help keep the flame sensor clean. 

Set reminders to change out the air filter on time each month so it doesn’t get too clogged with dirt. When the air filter gets too full, particles of dust and dirt will make their way through the filter and into your heater.

Scheduling Professional Service

Aside from completing maintenance steps of your own, we also encourage you to schedule annual professional maintenance with our team. If there is anything wrong with your flame sensor, we will catch it during a service appointment. Then we can fix the problem before it begins to affect how your furnace operates.

Contact Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. today to schedule an appointment for furnace service! We take your comfort as seriously as you do.

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