What a Flame Sensor Is and Why It Matters

Receiving your annual furnace maintenance helps keep your furnace operating up to thirty percent more efficient and helps extend the life of your system. But things may still malfunction, and when they do, you might feel like it’s always something else. 

This time it’s your heat exchanger, next time it’s your control valve. Now your find out the flame sensor has to be replaced. 

Also, what is a flame sensor? 

A flame sensor is a crucial safety component on your gas furnace. During the ignition sequence, your gas furnace enters a process where either a spark or a hot surface igniter will actually ignite the gas. As the gas is ignited, the flame sensor creates a current of electricity. The electricity is calculated in micro amps. If the furnace’s control board doesn’t read the proper level of micro amps, the furnace will quit giving the system fuel to stop an explosion. 

Over time, if the flame sensor is not cleaned properly, oxidation or carbon buildup can interfere with the flame sensor’s ability to function properly, which can end up causing the heating system to malfunction. 

The way to diagnose if an unclean flame sensor is causing a furnace malfunction is to take a micro amp draw reading, which an expert furnace technician can give you. If a dirty flame sensor is the culprit, the heating expert will clean the sensor with steel wool. If dirt was the only factor, we will see a notably higher amp reading. If the reading doesn’t change, the technician will carry on with the furnace repair diagnostic process. 

If you aren’t sure your heating system is going to survivie these last few weeks of winter, give Stevenson Service Experts a call and we’ll come out and provide you with a full furnace maintenance or a free in-home estimate on a new furnace. 

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