What a Flame Sensor Is and Why It Matters

Setting up your routine furnace maintenance helps keep your furnace running up to thirty percent more efficient and helps extend the life of your system. But things may still go wrong, and when they do, you could feel like it’s always something else. 

This time it’s your motor, next time it’s your pressure switch. Now you need to replace your flame sensor. 

Also, what is a flame sensor? 

A flame sensor is a critical safety component on your gas heating equipment. During the ignition pattern, your gas furnace undergoes a process where either a spark or a hot surface igniter will ignite the gas. When 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 does not read the correct level of micro amps, the furnace will no longer give the system fuel to stop an explosion. 

Over time, if the flame sensor is not adequately cleaned, oxidation or carbon buildup can restrict the flame sensor’s ability to work properly, which can result in a malfunction of the furnace. 

The way to diagnose if a soiled flame sensor is causing a furnace malfunction is to take a micro amp draw reading, which an expert furnace technician can provide you. If a dirty flame sensor is the offender, the technician will clean the sensor with steel wool. If dirt was the only factor, we will see a significantly higher amp reading. If the reading does not change, the technician will proceed with the heating equipment repair diagnostic process. 

If you aren’t certain your furnace is going to survivie these last few weeks of winter, give Stallion Heating and Air Conditioning a call and we’ll come out and perform a full furnace maintenance or a no-charge in-home estimate on a new HVAC system. 

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