Furnace burner won't stay lit.


Old 05-04-05, 11:18 AM
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Furnace burner won't stay lit.

First off, I'm new at dealing with furnaces so please mind the non-technical stuffs below.

I have a gas York Furnace that was installed in 1994. It's been working fine for a long time. In late 2003, I had the ignitor replaced as it was cracked. It's been working great since then. But about 2 months back I ran into a new problem.

It doesn't happen all the time. What's going on is that, when my thermostat tells the furnace to turn on, you here the standard click and you hear the furnace start. If you watch the furnace, you see through the vents the bright yellowish/orange light of the ignitor starting up. After a few seconds, you here about 3 clicks and the flame starts. All is normal so far.

But after about 5 seconds, the flame quickly dies. The furnace knows this and trys again. It gets bright, you here the clicks and the flame starts again. Once again, it dies in about 5 seconds.

Sometimes the third attempt will work! The flame will start and stay lit until the house has reached it's desired temperature. Other times, it will die and then the furnace gives up. But the fan will stay on for a couple hours, even if you go back to the thermostat and turn off the furnace (which you know worked as you hear the click.) I have to pull the fuse to shut off the furnace completely.

The good news is that it's an intermittent problem so my house is generally at the temp I want but it's gotten worse lately.

I've been doing research and I think that it's my flame sensor, I think it's dirty as I haven't cleaned my furnace in over 2 years and don't really want to until after summer as I'm having home reno's done. Does the flame sensor sound correct?

The above is my main question, what would be causing the flame to die in my furnace. But I have a side question that I hope can be answered. This is stupid but I need help. I can't get the front panel off my damn furnace to take a peek inside! My furnace is about 4 feet tall and has 2 tabs, one on the top corner of both sides of the front panel. There's a little sticker that says "1/4 turn to open" I've tryed turning them 1/4's but no matter what I do, I can't seem to get the damn panel off. Any suggestions would be great!

Thanks for reading this far! Hope someone can help!

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Old 05-04-05, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
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Yes it does sound like the flame rod needs cleaning. Getting the door off should be pretty straightfoward. I guess you turn the fasteners 1/4 turn like you state. I don't believe you have to lift at that point. Try to tip that panel back toward you.
Old 05-06-05, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I was able to get the panel off, it was how you suggested but the 2 fasteners needed to be "jiggled" into position.

I had discovered that the flame sensor had kind of a white powder/film on it that I cleaned off. Also, it was bent on a slight downward angle so it wasn't catching the brunt of the flame. My guess is that's why it would work by the 3rd ignite attempt, it would be hot enough by then... just not all the time (when it would fail on third attempt and quit trying)

The rod is now directly horizontal which is where the center of the flame is. So far it's been lighting and staying on on the first attempt. BUT it would do that before the majority of the time. So I'm going to keep monitering it. Things do seem good right now though

Thanks for your help.


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