Trane Forced Air Furnace Pilot Won't Stay Lit


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Old 03-29-11, 01:23 PM
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Trane Forced Air Furnace Pilot Won't Stay Lit

Hi gang,

I'm desperate for help in this matter. I have a 20 year old Trane forced air gas furnace.



We've gone through 3 winters here and each winter we have problems with the pilot staying lit. We've replaced countless thermocouples and the gas valve. No dice.

This season we almost made it without incident. Then 3 weeks ago it started going out. Tired of paying to have a tech come out and hold my hand, I relit it myself the last two times.

I wrote the company a letter and told them it was ridiculous that they could solve the problem. I had the gas pressure checked by National Grid, I had a chimney guy out here looking for drafts...nothing. No clear answer.

The company's manager review our file and told us this:

your Trane furnace was originally equipped with a spark type ignition system. For reasons we do not know, it was converted to a standing pilot system. In most cases this is not a conversion that works well due to how things line up. Spark ignition has definitely proven itself to be more reliable.
So, do you think that's the culprit? Or is there a bigger problem? The company says they can put in a new ignition or replace the whole unit. I am not sure how to proceed. The unit is old, yes, but what if I get a new one and it too goes out constantly?

We can't sleep at night because we fear waking up frozen or being engulfed in flames. I want peace of mind and no more house calls! I'd appreciate any feedback you might have as to why this is happening and how I should proceed. The company I'm dealing with is reputable, so I'm willing to give them another chance.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 03:41 PM
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spark or not to spark..........................

ur kidding right?...i have never seen a furnace that was a spark to pilot system converted to a thermocouple/standing pilot. I have seen systems that had a thermocouple,and standing pilot converted to spark to pilot.....that being said,I would have to agree with the company that said it is very inreliable,and from a safety and liability standpoint totally unbelievable that you have this type of system.why not convert it back to the original....:NO NO NO:
 
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Old 03-29-11, 04:27 PM
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agreed convert to spark. but with the age of that furnace you would be better off replacing it than putting ANY money into it. IMO. roughly you have a 70% efficient furnace. that is per $100 spent in fuel $30 is going out the chimney and not in the house!
 
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Old 03-29-11, 05:49 PM
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OK, 30% of the energy is going up the vent. But unless it's replaced with a condensing furnace, 20% will still go up the flue.

Run the calcs - how long a payback period would there be - even assuming the replacement furnace were 100% efficient? Replacing a gas furnace can seldom be justified, economically, based solely on fuel savings, despite what furnace salesmen may say.

By the way, the unprotected romex cable isn't kosher per the Nat'l Electric Code.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 06:11 PM
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ok, forget the fuel savings, put money in the furnace, how many other components are still about 20 years old and what is the likelihood of the them failing at that age? has the heat exchanger been examined for cracks?! Im just saying.......if it were my parents furnace, i wouldnt let them put money into it. your talking parts and labor with intermittent spark ignition (spark module, wiring, gas valve, pilot assembly, pilot tubing and other things im just not thinking of rt now) about a grand or more.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

So, if I go ahead and buy a new furnace do you think the issue will be solved? Is there any other unseen issue that could be causing the pilot to occasionally go out? Gas has been checked, chimney checked....anything else that we're not seeing? Or is it definitely the ignition thing? And if it is why did it take the company until now to decide to tell me this when they could have fixed it to begin with?

They are a locally owned respected company so I don't think they are out to get me, but you never know....

I got an estimate from the company that has failed to fix the problem for 3 years. I'm also gonna have Sears come out and give me another estimate.

The company offered me these options:

SCOPE OF WORK
Furnish labor, material and equipment to perform the following scope of work:

*Lennox Gas Fired Forced Warm Air Downflow Furnace with 70,000 Btuh Input at up to 98% Afue – Mdl # SLP98DH070V36B with Multi-Stage gas valve and Variable Speed DC Fan $4,300.00

* Trane Gas Fired Forced Warm Air Downflow Furnace with 60,000 Btuh Input at up to 95% Afue – Mdl # TDH2B060A9V3VA with Two-Stage gas valve and Variable Speed DC Fan $3,800.00

* Lennox Gas Fired Forced Warm Air Downflow Furnace with 70,000 Btuh Input at up to 95% Afue – Mdl # ELP195DH070P48B $2,800.00
Installation of the furnace to include:
All necessary gas, electric, condensate removal and distribution connections. PVC flue piping – Digital programmable set-back Thermostat –Remove and dispose of existing equipment.

WARRANTY:
FIVE Year 100% Parts and Labor
Lifetime on the heat exchanger and 10 years on covered components as per Manufacturer
All labor and material is warranted for one year. After one year, the manufacturer’s warranty is in place. All debris will be removed from the job site.
What do you think of that? I'm sorry to ask so many questions, but after 3 years of torment at the hands of this furnace I'm worried about making another huge mistake. This is our first house and I'm trying to learn as I go but it's hard and intimidating and I'm not very handy to begin with.

Thanks again for the help!
 
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Old 03-29-11, 07:33 PM
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My personal opinion, go with the trane over the lennox. In my area, Lennox parts are harder to come by than trane.

The only thing that could be going on that I can think of is that the gas valve is going bad. OR the heat exchanger is cracked and is blowing the pilot out. Regardless, neither of these conditions would have anything to do with a new furnace. I really do think that is the best route. And the one thing you can be certain of is that I have nothing to gain by you purchasing new equipment.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 07:40 PM
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They replaced the gas valve two years ago. Aside from that it's been a parade of thermocouples. First regular ones then "heavy duty" ones. So frustrating to keep handing over $125 a visit to these clowns.

Maybe the Sears guy will impress me more. I hope to hear from him tomorrow and schedule a consultation. In the meantime, we live in a state of constant worry!
 
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Old 03-30-11, 07:30 PM
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This might be too much information, but here is a short clip of my furnace in action:

YouTube - Mrs. O'Leary's Furnace

Do you think the flame is too high?
 
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Old 03-30-11, 07:44 PM
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not that the flame does not look to high on the video
 
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Old 04-28-11, 06:39 AM
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Question

Hi. It's me again.

I'm just killing time until replacing the furnace. I'm still trying to decide which company to give the job of installation to. I was going to have Sears come out but when their contractor called me he seems like a complete moron, sputtering sentence fragments and asking questions that even he didn’t understand. I’m getting ready to call the next contestant. It’s hard to know who to trust.

Anyway, now it's hot I have the heat turned off, obviously. But occasionally I still hear the furnace's blower come on to cool itself off. We had this problem a couple of years ago and a tech came out and simply lowered the pilot flame.

I have no intentions of calling a tech and want to do it myself. However, I have no manual or instructions for this machine, nor do I even know its make and model number. I've searched the forum here and see that lowering the pilot flame is a common question and seems to involve a simple turning of the screw. Can you tell me where this particular screw might be found on my model so I can attempt to rectify the problem myself and stop squandering my money on a roaring pilot in the summertime? It's only been warm for a few days and already the house is like an oven!

Thanks a lot for all your help. These forums are a terrific source of helpful information for a newish homeowner such as myself.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 01:31 PM
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turn the gas off to the furnace, and then you have no wasted gas on a pilot during the summer. IF you still want to adjust the pilot then take a picture of the gas valve.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 08:11 PM
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If I shut off the gas will the furnace keep click-click-clicking trying to reignite itself?
 
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Old 04-29-11, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by hvactechfw View Post
turn the gas off to the furnace, and then you have no wasted gas on a pilot during the summer. IF you still want to adjust the pilot then take a picture of the gas valve.
 
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Old 04-29-11, 02:48 PM
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i need a picture of the gas valve, not the burners. take a picture of the top of the gas valve
 
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Old 04-29-11, 07:14 PM
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Old 04-30-11, 09:36 AM
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should be under the screw on the top or there should be a similar screw on the side by the pilot tube. You will need a pocket screwdriver that fits inside the screw hole to adjust the pilot.
 
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Old 04-30-11, 06:08 PM
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Success! The screw on top was the one. Thanks for the help! It feels great to be able to do these things myself. Maybe I'll try shutting off the pilot altogether once the nights are warm enough. But that red valve on the pipe also controls the gas to the water heater too, doesn't it? That might pose a problem.

Thanks again for your easy to understand instructions!

Originally Posted by hvactechfw View Post
should be under the screw on the top or there should be a similar screw on the side by the pilot tube. You will need a pocket screwdriver that fits inside the screw hole to adjust the pilot.
 
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Old 04-30-11, 06:19 PM
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dark brown knob on top of gas valve in furnace
 
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Old 09-30-11, 06:09 PM
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Finally took the plunge!




NOW WITNESS THE FIREPOWER OF THIS FULLY ARMED AND OPERATIONAL GAS FURNACE!!!!!
 
 

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