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The A/C Guy of Tampa Bay Inc. Blog

A Small But Mighty Reason Your Furnace Stopped Working

Your furnace has a few safety features in place to help prevent problems with gas and carbon monoxide, but what if one of those features was actually getting in your way right now? It’s true—there’s one sensor that could be stifling your furnace’s ability to do what it does best.

It’s a common enough furnace repair in Tampa, especially where we don’t use our furnaces all too often and can neglect maintenance here in Florida. Let’s walk you through what this sensor does, and why it’s not something you can fix on your own.

It’s a Safety Device Called a Flame Sensor

Your flame sensor has an important job, but it can still be frustrating when it’s doing that job well. It detects the presence of a live flame (or a lack of one), and enacts certain safety procedures in response.

Gas comes through a line into your home, released at a steady pace to be burned by your furnace, and that’s the basis of how your furnace produces heat. But if there’s no flame to light that gas, it would just spill into the air and cause health problems. Not to mention, your home would be rigged to go up like a Roman candle.

The flame sensor shuts down the flow of gas when there’s no live flame. It’s like a gatekeeper, and its job is to make sure you don’t encounter serious problems as a result of a missing flame. The problem is, it gets caked with soot and debris over time, and it can’t detect a flame. It can’t detect much of anything anymore, because it’s jammed—as far as it’s concerned, there’s no flame.

How to Clean Your Flame Sensor

The most probable solution is to clean the flame sensor so it can detect live flames once again, and your furnace can keep working to heat your home. But it’s not as simple as wiping down the flame sensor and calling it a day.

The process looks like this: shut down your gas, shut off the electricity supply to your furnace from the breaker, remove the flame sensor, take it apart, and begin to clean it. You get the idea. It’s a tedious process, but that’s not the only reason you shouldn’t be the one to do it.

Unfortunately, It’s Not a Do-It-Yourself Kind of Thing

Your furnace warranty likely prohibits any form of DIY work. Some homeowners aim to save money, but don’t have the same experience that an HVAC technician does, so they can accidentally make mistakes that damage the furnace or cause other problems.

Not only do you need to hire a professional to keep your warranty in order, but this is a safety feature we’re talking about. It’s always best to leave it up to someone who deals with these day in and day out, and knows their way around these important features.

A Fix for That Flame Sensor

Whether the flame sensor needs to be cleaned, replaced, or it turns out there was a secondary problem the whole time, we’ll get your furnace sorted for you before you know it. You shouldn’t have to stick it out in the cold just because your furnace is on the fritz. Allow us to help. It starts with a phone call or by filling out our submission form today.

Contact us today to schedule your furnace repair as soon as possible.

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