The way furnaces generate heat is a mystery to many homeowners. Like AC systems, furnaces contain dozens of parts, each of which plays a role in converting energy into heat. While you might be familiar with some of the parts in your furnace, the flame sensor is a part that’s often overlooked. Furnace flame sensors don’t necessarily generate heat, but they are still important.
What Is a Furnace Flame Sensor?
A furnace flame sensor is an electrical component in a gas furnace that is designed to detect the presence of a flame. Gas furnaces have burners, each burner produces a small flame. When exposed to the gas released by the adjacent valve, the burner will generate combustion. Combustion creates a fire inside of the furnace that heats the air and, thus, your home.
How Furnace Flame Sensors Work
There are different types of furnace flame sensors, but they all work in a similar way. They consist of small metal rods that are powered by electricity. During operation, individual gas valves will open. And each of the gas valves has a flame sensor. Flame sensors are designed to detect whether a flame is present when the gas valves are open.
Flame sensors are safety components. Under normal circumstances, a flame will be present when the respective gas valve is open. There are times, however, when a gas valve may remain open without a flame. The flame sensor will identify the nonexistent flame, and it will respond by shutting down your furnace.
With furnace flame sensors, gas won’t be able to build up inside of furnaces. If there’s no flame present, your furnace will turn off. Furnace flame sensors are simply designed to prevent gas valves from remaining open in the event that there’s no flame.
Signs Your Furnace Needs a New Flame Sensor
How do you know if your furnace needs a new flame sensor? The most common symptom of failure is premature shutting down. If you turn on your furnace, only for it to suddenly shut down before heating your home, the flame sensor may be bad.
You shouldn’t use your furnace if it has a bad flame sensor. The best-case scenario is that your furnace will shut down prematurely. The worst-case scenario, on the other hand, is that gas will build up inside of your furnace. If it has a bad flame sensor, you should get it replaced.
If you are experiencing a problem with your air conditioning or heating call us at 512-336-1431 to schedule an appointment. We’ll be glad to come out and take a look at the issue.
1431-183 A/C & Heating proudly serves Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Liberty Hill, and North Austin.