Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Heating, Cooling, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and T-Stat Controls > Gas and Oil Home Heating Furnaces
Reload this Page >

25 year old Carrier furnace with intermittent spark ignitor pilot not lighting

25 year old Carrier furnace with intermittent spark ignitor pilot not lighting

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-06-09, 01:16 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
25 year old Carrier furnace with intermittent spark ignitor pilot not lighting

Hello, Newbie to the forum. I appreciate any help I can get. I realize that it is probably time for another furnace, but I am broke, so I am trying to fix it, but realize I am kind of out of my realm of expertise ( alarm tech, and do all my own work on my cars and house) but I will tackle anything and I do not give up, unless it can blow me up, hehe. I have a 3 burner 25 year old gas Carrier furnace super saver residential (cant find model or serial#) with the intermittent electronic spark igniter. It sparks and sparks, tick, tick, tick but no flame unless I add flame then it will fire up and run. Which obviously means it has gas to the pilot. and it has spark. I can see the spark and hear it tick, tick, tick but no ignition. The pilot is mounted left of center. Thank you for any help. It has always taken a while of sitting there sparking tick, tick before it would finally hit and light the burners. But now, it will just sit there for ever if I don't light it with a grille lighter. I tried changing the gap a little, buy using the little screw on the side of the pilot frame, but still no luck. I also have a few other problems with the furnace, but I will post them in another post.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-06-09, 05:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
Posts: 1,560
My first thought is a "dirty pilot". Does your gas co do service calls, if yes, call them and see if they will take a look. The pilot must be clean to operate properly.
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-09, 07:08 AM
Houston204's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,370
Upvotes Received: 10
If you have that 3 wire pilot burner, it probably needs to be replaced.
 
  #4  
Old 10-09-09, 06:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by Houston204 View Post
If you have that 3 wire pilot burner, it probably needs to be replaced.
The for the replies. Yes, it is the three wire pilot. I guess it just about has to be the problem since there is spark and gas. How much $$$ for this pilot? Thanks.
 
  #5  
Old 10-10-09, 07:12 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
Posts: 1,560
Originally Posted by pittroj View Post
The for the replies. Yes, it is the three wire pilot. I guess it just about has to be the problem since there is spark and gas. How much $$$ for this pilot? Thanks.
Try cleaning it first. I have cleaned probably hundreds with great sucess. Or, call the gas co and have them takea look
 
  #6  
Old 10-11-09, 02:37 AM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Yes, remove the pilot assembly and remove the brass ferrule at the bottom, at which point the pilot orifice should come out fairly easily.

If you have natural gas, clean the hole in the pilot orifice with the wire from a wire brush, then clean or blow out the rest of the pilot burner.

Reassemble it and very likely you will have solved the problem.

This is routine maintenance that ought to be done every year or two to avoid a variety of problems.
 
  #7  
Old 10-12-09, 07:00 PM
Houston204's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,370
Upvotes Received: 10
If you can't get it cleaned, it's 65 bucks online. The same Arnold site posted today. We charge $90 to ring your doorbell.
I don't know what a gas company would charge.

 
  #8  
Old 10-13-09, 05:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Again, thanks for the replies. I cleaned the orifice with a wire brush wire, and it still won't light . I still don't understand why it lights with a match. I have spark, gas, but no flame.

I have noticed in the last few years that it sits there for quite a while sparking before it finally fires. Sometimes last year it would spark 30-40 times before it would light. 69.00 is not as bad as I thought. Thanks for your help. I will probably go ahead and order it this week.
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-09, 06:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Still spark, gas but no flame?

I refuse to throw parts at this until I find the right part that is bad. But, since I can light it with a lighter, I am thinking weak spark? So, I figured I would buy a new igniter for 30.00. I then realized that the chances are better that the problem is the spark source than the igniter. 60.00+ot-.

I have gas spark but no flame. I have tried to sclean igniter tip and it's ground, but shouldn't ANY spark fire it if there is gas, and there is gas?
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-09, 06:27 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Maybe the spark is jumping to a clean spot that is not by the gas.

But maybe more likely the pilot orifice hole is partially plugged, and when you get it to go with a lighter, your lighter is held closer to the gas than what the gas can reach the spark!

You say you cleaned it(pilot orifice) with a wire brush? How? You have to actually take a wire brush wire strand (pluck one out) and poke it through the orifice hole and ream around with the wire strand. (Do NOT use a drill bit. Nor force a pin or needle into the orifice hole when it can't fit! Pilot holes are very very tiny. You can barely see daylight through them when clean!!) Blow it out when done.
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-09, 06:45 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
It would be very unusual (though possible) that the pilot wont light after the pilot burner and pilot orifice have been properly cleaned.

So, I like Ecman's suggestion that you didn't do the job correctly.

Please describe in detail the methods you used to clean the pilot.


Also, please describe the size of the pilot relative to the pilot burner and the color of the flame when it's lit.
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-09, 07:01 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
It would be very unusual (though possible) that the pilot wont light after the pilot burner and pilot orifice have been properly cleaned.

So, I like Ecman's suggestion that you didn't do the job correctly.

Please describe in detail the methods you used to clean the pilot.


Also, please describe the size of the pilot relative to the pilot burner and the color of the flame when it's lit.
Seattle and ecman,
Thanks for the replies !! I plucked a wire from a wire brush and reamed it that way, I can see a pinhole of light. It looks like a motorcycle pilot jet. The orifice is shaped like a space capsule. I can see a hole the size of a medium sized needle in diameter in it, and after all the flame is strong(when lit with lighter) so, that should indicate enough gas from pilot?

I spoke to a guy that used to repair furnaces and now sells parts, and he is stumped. If there is gas and spark, there should be flame. Is there such a thing as the spark box throwing a weak spark? Or, do they go completely out when they fail? All or nothing? I can't see the igniter tips ever going bad, or do they? I dosee a spark, it is blue. The pilot flame is pretty big when I light it, and it burns blue. The tip is only about 1/8th inch from pilot/ground.
 
  #13  
Old 10-27-09, 07:07 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
No reason you shouldn't have done a good job on cleaning the pilot orifice since you got it out. So it sounds like you did the job properly.


How 'bout posting some pictures of the pilot flame while it's burning?
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-09, 07:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 46
Replace the pilot burner. Easiest and most effective.
 
  #15  
Old 10-27-09, 07:11 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
A spark module putting out a weak spark would be possible, but I can't say that I every encountered one.

Is it a gray or a black box?

You know, a devoted wife can be trained to take a break from massaging your feet to go down and light the pilot when it starts to get cold.
 
  #16  
Old 10-27-09, 07:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
Posts: 1,560
There is an air hole most techs don't know about that needs cleaning once in a while.
Remove pilot, pull orifice and now look inside the pilot from the orifice end. You will see a little tube (venturi) in the middle and part way down is an "primary air opening". Take a small piece of wire and put a small right angle in the end. Run it down and into the opening. Take a flashlight first to find the hole. Also the problem may be a restricted orifice all the time.
 
  #17  
Old 10-27-09, 07:14 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Originally Posted by Ed-54 View Post
Replace the pilot burner. Easiest and most effective.

It starting to sound like the pilot burner isn't the problem.

My next suspicion is that the spark electrode isn't quite properly located, or perhaps it's been bent somewhat.

Adjusting the spark electrode electrode might solve the problem.


And what's been the delay on those pictures I asked for a couple of minutes ago? You just can't get good service these days!
 
  #18  
Old 10-27-09, 07:27 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Originally Posted by mbk3 View Post
There is an air hole most techs don't know about that needs cleaning once in a while.
Remove pilot, pull orifice and now look inside the pilot from the orifice end. You will see a little tube (venturi) in the middle and part way down is an "primary air opening". Take a small piece of wire and put a small right angle in the end. Run it down and into the opening. Take a flashlight first to find the hole. Also the problem may be a restricted orifice all the time.

Darn, mbk, you are good! I'm embarrassed to say I never noticed that hole before!

I'll add this: viewing the pilot burner from the top, you can see the outer shell of the pilot burner and the inner cylinder maybe 3/16 in diameter. the primary air gets sucked down in between those inner ans outer cylibders and that can get plugged up with dust and junk, impairing the air flow. So I'd clean that carefully with a wire from a wire brush as well as cleaning the a-hole of the pilot burner as described by mbk (we're using professional terminology here.) Blowing it all out with compressed air might be worthwhile if you have it available in addition to that cleaning.

Posting pictures of the pilot flame would help determine if the pilot burner is clean.


Still no pictures! You just can't get good help these days!
 
  #19  
Old 10-27-09, 07:34 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
Posts: 1,560
Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
Darn, mbk, you are good! I'm embarrassed to say I never noticed that hole before!

I'll add this: viewing the pilot burner from the top, you can see the outer shell of the pilot burner and the inner cylinder maybe 3/16 in diameter. the primary air gets sucked down in between those inner ans outer cylibders and that can get plugged up with dust and junk, impairing the air flow. So I'd clean that carefully with a wire from a wire brush as well as cleaning the a-hole of the pilot burner as described by mbk (we're using professional terminology here.) Blowing it all out with compressed air might be worthwhile if you have it available in addition to that cleaning.

Posting pictures of the pilot flame would help determine if the pilot burner is clean.


Still no pictures! You just can't get good help these days!
Thanks, after spending many years as you have with a utility you see thousands of appliances in your career. My co didn't replace parts, so we did all we could to get things back on line. Where a dealer would replace a part, we would attempt to clean. Well you know what I'm talking about.
 
  #20  
Old 10-28-09, 02:44 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Thanks guys!!

I had to get to bed after my previous post. I will try to get some video of the pilot flame after I light it with a lighter this evening. I am a newbie at posting pics and video. I do have a minidv cam with a USB cable, so I will figure it out and post some vid after work today. Thanks again. Have to go to work now.
 
  #21  
Old 10-28-09, 03:37 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
A spark module putting out a weak spark would be possible, but I can't say that I every encountered one.

Is it a gray or a black box?

You know, a devoted wife can be trained to take a break from massaging your feet to go down and light the pilot when it starts to get cold.
The sparker box is black. Yes, she has lit the pilot a few times, hehe. I am on eastern time, hence the no video and goin to bed early (to you guys in the west) I will try to get some video out tonight.
 
  #22  
Old 10-28-09, 07:28 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Ed-54 View Post
Replace the pilot burner. Easiest and most effective.
Or just replace the furnace, just in case it is something else, and be done with the problems once and for all.
 
  #23  
Old 10-29-09, 03:47 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Guys,
I have recorded the furnace firing up, and of course the pilot light. I am having a hard time figuring out how to load the video onto my computer. I am at work now, and will try again tonight. Please don't give up on me yet. Thanks.

Jeff
 
  #24  
Old 10-29-09, 06:37 AM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Or just replace the furnace, just in case it is something else, and be done with the problems once and for all.


Maybe we can get Ecman a gig spelling David Letterman when he needs a day off!


Although that seems to be the approach used by quite a number of people who allege themselves to be "repair"men.




Seattle Pioneer
 
  #25  
Old 10-29-09, 07:44 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by pittroj View Post
Please don't give up on me yet. Thanks.
Jeff
I don't think any of us do, once we latch onto a problem that is vexxing to someone.
 
  #26  
Old 10-29-09, 03:51 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,503
Originally Posted by pittroj View Post
I had to get to bed after my previous post.

You know, that's not true. One of my theories is that God made 24 hours in a day so that furnace repairmen could always fix ONE MORE FURNACE before getting some sleep.


Lots of humor on this thread.
 
  #27  
Old 10-31-09, 03:32 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Still trying to figure out how to post up some video. I am going to pick up a firewire today. I will atempt again tonight. Working today......
 
  #28  
Old 10-31-09, 05:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Jose,Ca
Posts: 1,560
Originally Posted by pittroj View Post
Still trying to figure out how to post up some video. I am going to pick up a firewire today. I will atempt again tonight. Working today......
Just ship us each a copy via UPS
 
  #29  
Old 11-02-09, 06:02 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 46
I've replaced 7 three wire pilots in the past month.
Cleaning works but with 12-16 hr days, Replacing is quicker and a new electrode comes with the pilot burner.
Plus there are no recurring orders later.
Our repair contract covers cost for the home owner. P&L

BTW
I wont make it on Letterman but, my customers are warm
 
  #30  
Old 11-04-09, 04:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 14
Guys,
Thanks for your patience and the long delay since my last post. The problem was the three wire pilot. I work at a University and asked one of the HVAC guys that works there (with his own side business of mostly residential accounts) what he thought. First thing he said was 3 wire pilot.

And, I said, but, but it lights with a lighter, and he still said he guarantees it to be the three wire pilot. He had a new/old one (never used, but about 20 years old) that he gave me to try. I installed it and by the time I got from the thermostat to the furnace the burners were fired! He said we would talk money after we see if the pilot fixes my problem. What is a fair price for a three wire pilot? Thanks for all of your help, I really appreciate it.

Any recommendations on what kind of furnace I should install next year, and what about the 1200.00 tax credit for installing a newer more efficient furnace?


Thanks,
Jeff
 
  #31  
Old 11-05-09, 05:21 AM
GRIMKNOTME's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: N.C. USA
Posts: 120
Any recommendations on what kind of furnace I should install next year, and what

If you can afford it and you are on natural gas I would highly consider a dual fuel system costs more but gets cold where you are............................ do some research on it

And running a new ground to your furnace may help , but wont hurt.


And gas pressure is a must always when instaled and serviced .
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes