Furnace Shuts Down after few minutes


Old 10-03-03, 09:42 AM
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Furnace Shuts Down after few minutes


Whenever I try to kick on the furnace to heat my house, it goes through the same routine every time:

1. Turn thermostat On for Heat
2. I can hear the furnace kick on immediately and go through initial warm up procedure
3. After around 2 minutes, the blower fan kicks on as well (air is coming out of vents, but still cold)
4. Blower fan stops after another couple minutes, no heat is blowing out, and the furnace shuts down

The only way I can ever get it to work is to recycle the thermostat to Off, wait a few seconds, then back On, and sometimes if I am lucky the blower will stay On and actually produce heat. Once I get it going, it seems to work fine and stay on until house temp is up to desired t-stat setting (and if I leave the heat On, it will continue to work by turning on and off automatically to maintain my desired t-stat setting). But I have to recycle the t-stat 5 or 6 times before it works.

It is really a nuisance to have to keep turning the t-stat on/off just to get it to work properly.

Here are the specs of the furnace:

Rheem Imperial Drum 90 plus
model# RGED-09ERAJS
90,000 btu's
natural gas
direct vent forced air
pilot light is automatic (not always on)

My initial thought was that the pilot light was not getting turned on and there is an internal control to shut down the furnace if it doesn't come on.

Any ideas out there what is wrong with this blasted furnace?
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Old 10-03-03, 09:42 PM
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Hello; mstadnik

Very possible the pilot flame is not heating the prover element. The prover element is the thin rod or wire like element the pliot flame is heating.

This part proves there is a pilot flame established. Cleaning that element rod with fine sanding paper and or steel wool may resolve the problem.

The flame sensor is an element that is often located in the flames of one of the burners. It's a round element with a wire attached to it. Cleaning this part may also resolve the problem.

First turn off all electrical power to the heater and turn the thermostat to the off position or lower the temp to it's lowest possible temp.

Remove the sensor if needed. To clean it, use fine grit sand paper or steel wool. Clean the entire element to remove the rust, scale etc.

If the element has to be removed to perform this task, make note of how it is currently installed and how it is attached to the electronic module, etc prior to removal.

Reinstall it exactly as it currently is. At this time also check the flame sensors electrical connection. Both of these 2 steps, cleaning and checking the connections should or could correct the problem.

If not, it's possible the sensor element is defective and needs replacing, providing this part is in fact the cause of the problem.

Several other resident heating professionals on this type of heating system, replying within this forum, could have additional helpful information, suggestions, advice.

Check back on your question several times for additional replies.

If you need further assistance, use the REPLY button to add any additional information or questions, etc. Using this method also moves the topic back up to the top of the list automatically.

Regards & Good Luck, Forum Host & Moderator.
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Old 10-05-03, 09:20 PM
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Well, you need to go watch the furnace go thru a cycle. Does the flame stay on until the main blower kicks on? Does the flame only stay on less than 5 seconds? Does all the burners ignite? We really need a few more details to help you out. But as Sharp Advice says, clean your flame sensor. Really needs to be done every year for troublefree operation. Might be your only problem.
Old 10-05-03, 09:36 PM
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These Rheem Drum furance do not have any type of pilot..

They are Hot Surface ignitor, and are very VERY FRAGEL..

If you are having problems few things could be wrong with this furnace.

When was this put in? Have you had your furnace changed out? The drum had a major recall in '92... I don't recall the Model off hand that was on the recall.

Ok, here are a few things that maybe wrong..

-HSI is tired, and needs to be replaced..

-Crack drum heat exchanger.

- Ignition control modulor

- PVC Venting problem?

-Had electrial work done just recent? These furnace are polatry (SP?) senstive!
Old 10-06-03, 02:00 AM
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mstadnik, I had almost identical problem with my Carrier furnace. I did however go watch the furnace go through a cycle. The hot surface ignitor did its thing and the main burner lit, the fan came on for a few seconds then blasted thing shut down. Called in a service technician from the company that did the installation. First thing he did was clean the hot surface ignitor (HSI). But I wasnt that lucky turned out to be the control module. Cost me 250 bucks on a 3 year old furnace. Spent about 800 bucks on this carrier system A/C and Heat since installation 7 years ago. Neighbor has Rheem and hasn't had to touch the thing for 10 years so was surprised to hear about your troubles. Hope your luckier than me...RL
Old 10-06-03, 03:37 PM
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I had something similar happen on my furnace.
it turned out that the furnace was ok,
it was the vent/flue sensor that shut the furnace down.

apparently the heat from the furnace was not disapating
up the chiminey quick enough, and the flue pipes got hot,
thus the sensor shut down the furnace.

every so often I had to reset the sensor, until I got the chiminey cleaned.

don't know if this is your problem, but worth checking into.
cost me $75 to find this out.
Old 10-06-03, 05:35 PM
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First of all- a hot surface ignitor can NOT be cleaned. If you have one it will probably have an odd shape. It may be flat and about an inch wide shaped sort of like a W. Or it may be round and look like a spring. Either way, when it is energized it glows BRIGHT red and is about 2500 degrees. It is VERY fragile. If you touch it, you will probably ruin it. Just trying to put things in perspective.

The flame sensor is usually located on the opposite side of the gas burner rack as the ignitor. This is so that before the safety control is satisfied that everything is OK, all burners are lit. The flame sensor is a small rod usually with a ceramic base. It is NOT fragile, or nearly as fragile as the ignitor. If you hit it with a hammer you will ruin it. It should not be scratched. Sandpaper will scratch it. Use steel wool and get any white residue off of it. That is usually household dust that was burned fast to it during normal operation. Then try it again.

I have also had service calls that were solved by movong garbage cans or wheelbarrows away from the vent discharge outside the house.

Don't overlook the obvious.

Old 10-08-03, 04:23 PM
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Thanks to all that replied!

I turned on the furnace and took off a panel to witness what was happening. What I focused on was looking through this 1/2" circular window into the innards of the furnace. This is where you can see whether it ignites properly I guess.

When the furnace did decide to work, a blue flame would start up which I could see through this window and all is good.

When the furnace did NOT decide to work, there would be no flame in window after a few minutes and the furnace would shut down. I heard some clicking every 30 seconds or so after turning on furnace, and I presume that if the ignitor doesn't work after "x" amount of time or attempts, then it goes into auto-lockdown mode for safety reasons.

Someone above asked the age of the furnace. Unfortunately, I just bought the house a few months ago and do not know the exact age. If I recall from previous owner/inspector, they thought it was around 5-10 years old.

I have a service call for this coming Friday and I would like to be as knowledgeable as possible. From the additional info I have provided above, is it fair to assume that the problem is most likely relegated to the HSI or some other part having to do with the ignition of this "blue flame"?
Old 10-08-03, 04:42 PM
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HSI's are not as fragile as most tech's think. Shock wise,oh-yea! more so than glass but as far as touching them, there is no problem there. The oils from your skin will not effect them, a chunk of grease or penetrating lube is a different story... We replace them all the time, mainly on Trane units, and these send flame signal back to the ignition module as well, to prove flame. Its the easiest and cheapest fix....and the likely one as well.
Old 10-08-03, 06:46 PM
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i think

there is confusion between HSI and flame sensors. they are generally on opposite ends of the burners. hsi ignites the gas, flame sensors (rods w/ one wire going to them) send the signal back to keep the gas valve open. steel wool lightly on the flame sensor, never touch the ignitor. my 2 cents
Old 10-14-03, 09:14 AM
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Again, thanks to all that responded!

Wanted to add a reply to what the actual problem was for those that are interested.

The technician came out and determined that the hot surface ignitor was bad. As someone above posted, the HSI is a flat W-shaped coil and when removing saw it was broken. So it looked more like a \/\ than a W. Thus, it was still semi-functional, but not fully efficient. That's why sometimes the gas would get ignited and other times it didn't.

After replacing the HSI, the furnace ignited the gas the first time without having to recycle the furnace 4 or 5 times.

Thanks for the insight...I was able to tell the technician before he even started what I thought the problem was and he was somewhat impressed when he determined the HSI was indeed the cause of the problem.
Old 10-14-03, 09:46 AM
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Glad to hear it was just the HSI was the problem.

Did the service guy say this furance was ok with it's heat exchanger and checked it to make sure there was no sign?

Rheem/Ruud had a major recall on these drum style heat exchanger in the early 90's.
Old 10-14-03, 02:42 PM
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I had read somewhere either in this forum or another that there was a Rheem drum recall sometime in the 90's. I have no idea how old this furnace is or what the prior service records are (the previous owner(s) apparently didn't keep this kind of info with the house).

I'm guessing the furnace is between 5 and 10 years old, though, which means it may have been manufactured after the recall.

The service guy did not do any check of the heat exchanger that I know of, and I was watching everything he did. That being said, though, what is a heat exchanger? Any idea what type of problems precipitated a recall?

Old 10-14-03, 05:37 PM
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It been awhile since I done anything with Rheem/Ruud.. I will check into it on what the model numbers were on the recall of the drum..

here are some pix of it..


Old 10-12-12, 06:09 PM
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Thumbs up thanks

found this thread very informative and helpful...thanks guys
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