What a Flame Sensor Is and Why It Matters

Setting up your routine furnace maintenance helps keep your heating equipment running up to 30% more efficient and helps extend the life of your furnace. But things could still stop working, and when they do, you may feel like it’s always something else. 

This time it’s your heat exchanger, next time it’s your control valve. Now you have to have your flame sensor replaced. 

What is a flame sensor, anyway? 

A flame sensor is a crucial safety element on your gas heating equipment. During the ignition sequence, 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 generates a current of electricity. This is calculated in micro amps. If the furnace’s control board does not read the correct level of micro amps, the furnace will stop giving the system fuel to stop an explosion. 

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

The way to diagnose if an unclean flame sensor is to blame for 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 heating expert will clean the sensor with steel wool. If dirt was the single factor, we will see a notably higher amp reading. If the reading doesn’t change, the technician will carry on 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 Stevenson Service Experts a call and we’ll come out and perform a full furnace maintenance or a no-charge in-home estimate on a new heating system. 

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