It’s easy to take your furnace for granted. Most of the time, you just set your thermostat to the desired level, and when the temperature drops below that level, the furnace kicks on and warms up the home. While we are all used to this technology at this point, modern heating is really quite an impressive feat and something that has made life more comfortable for billions of people.
With that said, there are some safety risks involved with installing and using heating equipment in a home. For that reason, plenty of thought has gone into the design of your furnace and how it can be operated safely in an indoor environment. One critical piece of safety equipment is the flame sensor – and this article is going to take a closer look at what it is and how one might go about flame sensor cleaning. For help with this point, reach out to Walker Air • Plumbing • Electric right away.
What is a Flame Sensor?
In this case, the name really says it all – the flame sensor is a piece of equipment that monitors the flame within the furnace and will shut down the system if a problem is detected. When functioning properly, there is a flame in place to work with the gas that is flowing into the furnace to create heat. However, if the flame were to go out for some reason, the gas could continue to flow and create a dangerous situation.
It’s the job of the flame sensor to stop such a situation from occurring. If there is no flame detected, the sensor will tell the furnace to shut down, cutting off the gas leak before it can build up to a dangerous level. This is a great piece of technology that makes it far safer to run a furnace in your home. However, if the sensor gets dirty, it could be giving a false reading, leading the furnace to shut down when there actually isn’t any problem in the system.
Flame Sensor Cleaning
You might be surprised to learn that cleaning the flame sensor is a pretty easy job. Of course, if you are uncomfortable with this task in any way, or can’t quite figure out where to go or what to do in your system, please reach out to Walker for assistance.
The first – and most important – step in this process is to shut down the furnace. This is essential for your safety, so it must be done and double-checked before anything else can happen. Even if the weather is warm and you don’t think the system will kick on anytime soon, don’t take any chances. Just shut the system down and be sure it isn’t going to come on when you least expect it.
With that out of the way, you can then open up the door to the combustion chamber on the furnace. This is where the flame sensor will be found, and it looks like a small, thin piece of metal in most cases. It should be found near to where you see the burners inside the chamber. Once located, the sensor can be removed and cleaned.
To do the cleaning, you’ll just need a little bit of steel wool or some sandpaper. Lightly rub the sensor with one of these to take off any rust that has developed, and then wipe it off with a clean towel to finish the job. Put the sensor back into place and turn the furnace back on to see if this has done the trick.
Other Potential Problems
With any luck, cleaning the flame sensor will solve the problems you have been having with your furnace. That is not guaranteed, however, so you might find that issues persist even after you have properly cleaned and replaced the sensor. When that happens, it’s time to get help from a professional HVAC technician. There are other problems that you could be dealing with here, including a sensor that has cracked or a faulty control board.
If your furnace runs into trouble operating correctly, it’s possible that a dirty flame sensor is to blame. By having the sensor cleaned, it will hopefully go back to performing its important role correctly, and the furnace will be able to do its work without further issues. If you have any questions about this or anything else related to the operation of your furnace, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Walker Air • Plumbing • Electric right away. We are excited to serve you!