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Comfort Matters Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing Blog

This Furnace Sensor Can Disrupt Your Whole System

Your furnace has a variety of safety mechanisms to ensure that heating operation is always happening in the way it should while limiting safety risks. But there is one sensor in particular that can cease heating operation completely if it is faulty or gets triggered.

Anytime your furnace is not operating the way it should, you should call our team to schedule an appointment for furnace repair in Plymouth, MN. You can also keep reading to learn more about the role of a flame sensor and why it may cause problems for furnace operation.

What Is a Flame Sensor?

The flame sensor inside of a furnace is designed to ensure that a flame is active when it needs to be for heating. If the flame does not ignite, the result can be that carbon monoxide gas is left unburned in the chamber and potentially leaks out into your heater and even your home. If a flame does not ignite to initiate the combustion process to create heat, the flame sensor should signal for your furnace to turn off as a safety precaution. 

Signs the Flame Sensor is Bad

The question is, how do you know when the flame sensor is triggering, or even potentially malfunctioning? There are instances when the flame sensor is turning your heater off for a good reason. But it’s also possible for the sensor to malfunction and signal for your heater to turn off at the wrong times. 

If your furnace continuously turns off and then back on again, that’s a red flag of something being wrong with the flame sensor. It’s also possible that you hear a persistent clicking sound as your furnace tries to turn on. This is the flame attempting to ignite unsuccessfully.

You can turn your heater off and allow it to cool down before opening the chamber where the igniter is located to check the sensor. If you notice that the flame sensor is dark, dirty, or corroded, then that’s a sign it could be malfunctioning. You may also notice that the surrounding porcelain casing is cracked, which can contribute to flame sensor problems.

Cleaning the Flame Sensor

Ideally, you want to keep the flame sensor clean all along to prevent malfunctions and other problems. You can do this by turning your heater completely off once per month and allowing it to cool down. Then, open the chamber and use a clean, dry rag to wipe down the sensor and surrounding area. 

This is something that our team will do each year during your annual heating maintenance appointment, but it’s also a good idea for you to check on your flame sensor as a part of regular homeowner maintenance as well. If you clean off the sensor and find that your furnace is still experiencing issues you can give us a call to schedule service in between your regular annual maintenance appointments.

Contact Comfort Matters Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with our professionals. With you through THE HIGHS & LOWS!

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