How to Tell If Flame Sensor is Bad

How to Tell If Flame Sensor is Bad | Lexity

There are a few telltale signs that something isn’t quite right with your furnace’s flame sensor. If your gas furnace shuts down not long after turning it on, or if it shuts down before you shut it off completely, you may be dealing with a bad flame sensor.

Flame sensors are designed to check the gas valve of a furnace to make sure that it is only open when there is a fire. They are essential for health and safety as they stop harmful gases from accumulating. You normally find flame sensors in modern furnaces and other systems that use gas heating.

Flame sensor issues are commonplace, so you don’t have to worry about expensive repair bills or replacement costs if you do have a bad flame sensor. Still, it is important to know if you are dealing with a bad flame sensor so that you can take the right steps to repair the problem. In this article, we are going to find out how to tell if a flame sensor is bad and whether or not you need an HVAC specialist to help.

 

What is the life span of a flame sensor?

Flame sensors do have a limited life span, so they will need to be replaced at one point or another. With that said, they are also prone to getting dirty and if that is the case, you might not need to repair your flame sensor.

Flame sensors are designed to have an incredibly low tolerance for disparities in readings, so they can make mistakes if they are coated in dust. It is no surprise that this is a common problem, as flame sensors are usually found in dusty areas such as basements. As a result of this, dust can build up on the flame sensor, burn up and create an accumulation of carbon.

 

What should I do if my fire sensor stops working?

Your first port of call should be to wipe down the flame sensor to see if there has been a build-up of carbon on it. If you have done this already and are still having problems, then we would advise calling out a professional such as our team at Lexity.

Flame sensors are vital to the integrity and safety of your furnace and home – if it isn’t working, then you run the risk of a dangerous gas buildup in your home. It is often the case that a dirty or defective flame sensor will automatically shut down all heating if there is no flame detected.

Most contemporary furnaces automatically go into a safety ignition lockout if there are three shutdowns. Not only is this quite an inconvenience on a cold evening, but regularly touching a flame sensor can cause other issues with the furnace and reduce the efficiency of the unit.

 

How can I tell if my flame sensor is bad?

There are a few steps that you can take to inspect the health of your flame sensor to determine whether or not is bad. To help you, we have broken the process down below:

• Switch off power to the furnace
• Close the gas line
• Remove the mounting screw
• Remove the flame sensor
• Inspect the sensor and look to see if there is dirt or soot on the insulation or unit itself
• If there is damage or missing pieces to the sensor, it will need to be replaced

If you believe that you need to replace your flame sensor, it isn’t too difficult a job. However, we always advise using a professional to lower the risk of accidents around gas. Using a professional has the added benefit of peace of mind, as they will most likely inspect the furnace to look for additional issues with your heating system.

 

How can I clean my flame sensor if it is dirty?

In many cases, fixing your flame sensor is just a matter of giving it a cleaning. The best way to clean your flame sensor is to let a professional do the work as it can be quite tricky. Generally speaking, specialists will perform flame sensor cleaning by first switching off power to the furnace. This is a thin, metal rod that is found at the front of the furnaces flame stream.

From here, specialists will use a wrench or a screwdriver to remove the flame sensor. To remove any built-up carbon, they will use light-grained sandpaper or a wire brush to gently rub the rod and remove dirt. This is a delicate procedure and requires a good understanding of how much cleaning is required. When the cleaning is completed, a piece of cloth is used to wipe down the rod.

If you feel that your flame sensor is bad and needs attention, contact our specialists at Lexity in Melbourne today for further information.