Gas furnace will not light or stay lit


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Old 03-12-09, 08:24 AM
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Gas furnace will not light or stay lit

We have an older (probably 15 years or so?) Janitrol gas furnace in our home, with a newer programmable thermostat on the wall. The pilot stays lit, but the furnace itself has difficulty lighting. It has an electric ignition. I can hear the igniter clicking/buzzing, and usually we have to fan it with something to get the flames to light. Once it lights, it works okay but tends to short cycle and we have to fan each time to light the flame. Lately, however, we fan it, it lights, flame burns for maybe 5 seconds, then goes out. We relight, same thing happens again. The flame burner will light (after we fan it with something), but refuses to stay lit more than maybe 8seconds at most. Then the burner goes out (pilot still lit) and the igniter is clicking/buzzing again attempting to light. After a few tries, it stops. The fan works fine in "on" mode but obviously won't blow heat. We have someone coming to service it, but they cannot come until Saturday and it is COLD here right now! We need to be able to heat our home between now and then.

What could be causing this? Is it possibly something simple we could check ourselves, such as a loose wire or some other type of adjustment? I read on another site that cleaning the flame sensor may fix this. Suggestions?
 

Last edited by pmburk; 03-12-09 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:27 PM
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Flame sensor

Cleaning the flame sensor may help with the staying lit part but will not help the not lighting. To fix that you would likely have to remove & clean the burners paying particular to the little tubes or 'wings' between the burners.
 
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Old 03-13-09, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the tip. Last night my husband cleaned the two flame sensors (one appeared to be very dirty) and now the heater works like brand new! It lights by itself and no longer "short cycles" - it runs until the thermostat temperature is reached.
 
 

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