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What a Flame Sensor Is and Why It Matters

Setting up your seasonal furnace maintenance helps keep your heating system working up to thirty percent more efficient and helps extend the life of your system. But things may still go wrong, and when they do, you could feel like you’re always hearing about something else. 

This time it’s your blower, next time it’s your control valve. Now you need to replace your flame sensor. 

By the way – what is a flame sensor? 

A flame sensor is an important safety feature on your gas heating system. During the ignition cycle, your gas furnace undergoes a process where a spark or a hot surface ignitor will actually ignite the gas. As the gas is ignited, the flame sensor produces a current of electricity. This is calculated in micro amps. If the furnace’s control board doesn’t read the right level of micro amps, the furnace will quit giving the system fuel to prevent an explosion. 

Over time, if the flame sensor is not cleaned properly, oxidation or carbon buildup can impede the flame sensor’s ability to work properly, which can cause the furnace to malfunction. 

The way to establish if a dirty flame sensor is to blame for a furnace malfunction is to take a micro amp draw reading, which an expert heating technician can provide you. If a dirty flame sensor is the reason, the heating expert will clean the sensor with steel wool. If dirt was the sole factor, we will see a much higher amp reading. If the reading does not change, the technician will continue with the heating equipment repair diagnostic process. 

If you aren’t sure your heating equipment is going to outlast these last few weeks of winter, give Stevenson Service Experts a call and we’ll come out and provide you with a full furnace maintenance or a complimentary in-home estimate on a new furnace. 

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