Strange problem-Furnace won't light but pilot does light


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Old 03-01-13, 05:09 PM
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Strange problem-Furnace won't light but pilot does light

The strange part is the short term "fix" or "work around". First, the problem:
This is a Rheem gas forced air furnace, model # RGDA-10EC-ER. It was in the house when I bought it in 1995 and was old at that time. The pilot is lit when the thermastat calls for heat. You can hear the clicking which lights the pilot but sometimes it continues to click up to a minute after the pilot is lit.
The pilot light will stay on indefinitely but the furnace will not come on. However, if you take the front cover off and put it back on you will hear a load click and 5 seconds later, the main furnace flame comes on. HOWEVER, sometimes you have to repeat the process of taking the front cover may times before it works. ALSO, the switch that is pressed in (or activated) by the cover being ON has been bypassed long ago by someone. The wires to that switch are tied together with a wire nut and electrical tape. I un-twisted the wire nut to inspect the connection which seemed fine and I re-twisted the wire. It seemed to have no affect on the furnace's randon refusal to light. Soemtimes when you get it to light (by removing the cover), it will function properly for days. Sometimes you have to repeat the door removal fix everytime the furnace needs to restart. I've tried lighly tapping or banging various components in the furnace area but the only thing that seems to work is a removal and replacement of the lower plate that covers the front of the furnace.
What the heck is that all about!!?? Any ideas? Is there anything I can clean ore easily replace or do I need to pay a high priced furnace repair company that will be pitching a new furnace to me as soon as they walk through the door and see this older unit? Thank you in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 03-01-13, 07:08 PM
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Sounds like the pilot may be dirty, not allowing the flame rod to heat properly. try blowing some air into the pilot where the gas comes out, that may do the trick.
 
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Old 03-18-13, 05:12 PM
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Strange Problem...........

Can the pilot be cleaned or should I replace it?
 
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Old 03-18-13, 05:54 PM
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Clean it. After blowing thru it from the top where gas comes out if that doesn't work you may need to disassemble and clear the pilot orifice. That is the most likely problem, however, it may be something else. One thing at a time.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 04:33 PM
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Strange problem continued

Thank you mbk3 for the advice about blowing on it. Oddly enough, that works everytime the furnace fails to ignite on it's own. Opening the panel only made it light after repeated tries but blowing on it works like a charm. However, I know that is only a band-aid. I will take your advice and clean it next.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 08:18 PM
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Actually I didn't mean blow on it. Blow thru the top of the pilot where the flame comes out, and not with your mouth from 6" away. lol Do you have a can of compressed air or does your gas co make service calls. they would know how to clean it. As I said in a previous post, it may need to be disassembled to clean.
 
 

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