If you live in a colder climate, having a properly functioning furnace is essential to staying warm during the chilly winter months. One of the most important components of a furnace is the flame sensor, which helps the furnace operate efficiently and safely. In this post, we’ll guide you through the steps of cleaning your furnace’s flame sensor to ensure that it’s functioning properly.
What is a Flame Sensor?
A flame sensor is a safety device that ensures gas flowing to a furnace is ignited properly. The sensor detects whether or not a flame is present, and if it doesn’t detect a flame, it will shut off the gas flow. This is crucial because if gas keeps flowing without ignition, it can cause an explosion.
A flame sensor consists of a metal rod that is placed near the burner. When the burner ignites, the rod heats up, and this change in temperature is detected by the furnace’s control board. If the control board doesn’t detect a temperature change, it will shut off the gas valve as a safety measure.
Why Clean Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor?
Over time, a furnace’s flame sensor can become dirty with soot and buildup. When this happens, the sensor can’t detect the change in temperature properly, which can result in the furnace not functioning correctly. This can lead to inefficient heating and potentially dangerous situations.
Cleaning your furnace’s flame sensor is a simple task that can ensure proper functionality and safe operation. You can clean it yourself or hire a professional furnace technician to do it for you.
How to Clean Your Furnace’s Flame Sensor
Here are the steps you should follow to clean your furnace’s flame sensor:
- Turn off the power: Before beginning any work on your furnace, you should turn off the power. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally turn on the furnace while cleaning, which could result in injury.
- Locate the flame sensor: The flame sensor is typically located near the burner on the furnace. It is a small metal rod that protrudes into the furnace’s flame.
- Remove the sensor: Gently remove the flame sensor from the furnace. It may be held in place with a screw or clip.
- Clean the sensor: Use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently clean the sensor. Be careful not to damage the sensor or remove any of the metal. Once clean, wipe the sensor with a clean cloth to remove any debris.
- Replace the sensor: Carefully replace the flame sensor, making sure it is properly installed and secured.
- Turn on the power: Once you’ve completed the cleaning, turn on the power to your furnace and test its operation.
How often should I clean my furnace’s flame sensor?
You should clean your furnace’s flame sensor at least once a year to ensure it’s functioning properly.
What should I do if my furnace’s flame sensor still isn’t working after cleaning?
If your furnace’s flame sensor isn’t working properly after cleaning, you may need to replace it. Contact a professional furnace technician to diagnose the issue and make any necessary repairs.
Can I clean my furnace’s flame sensor myself?
Yes, cleaning your furnace’s flame sensor is a simple task that most homeowners can do themselves. However, if you’re uncomfortable working with gas appliances, you should contact a professional furnace technician.
Is there anything else I should check while cleaning my furnace’s flame sensor?
While you’re cleaning your furnace’s flame sensor, it’s a good idea to check for any other signs of wear or damage. Check the burners for signs of rust, and inspect the heat exchanger for cracks or corrosion. If you notice any issues, contact a professional furnace technician to make any necessary repairs.
Your furnace’s flame sensor is an essential safety device that ensures your furnace operates efficiently and safely. By cleaning it regularly, you can ensure proper functionality and safe operation. Remember to turn off the power before beginning any work on your furnace, and if you’re uncomfortable working with gas appliances, contact a professional furnace technician.
Stay warm this winter!