Save on Heating Repairs: Cleaning a Flame Sensor

In Manassas, VA, and the surrounding areas, the importance of an efficiently running furnace cannot be overstated. Cold winters demand dependable heating systems, and as homeowners or business proprietors, it’s vital to understand basic furnace maintenance. One crucial yet often overlooked component of your furnace is the flame sensor. In this article, accompanied by our recently released video, we’ll delve into the importance of cleaning the flame sensor and how it can save you money on furnace repairs.

As the owner of Brooks Heating and Air, I have personally lost count this common scenario: a customer calls me with issues with a propane heating system. We typically dispatch a tech, and the first thing they check is the flame sensor. More often than not, a simple cleaning gets their furnace working again.

Cleaning your flame sensor on your furnace can save a lot on costly furnace repairs

What is a Flame Sensor?

For those unfamiliar, a flame sensor is a safety device found in most modern gas furnaces. Its primary role is to detect the presence of a flame when the gas valve is open. If it doesn’t detect a flame, it tells the control board to shut off the gas valve, ensuring unburned gas doesn’t fill your home or business. This prevention measure safeguards against potential gas explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Cleaning the flame sensor can prevent a host of problems with your furnace

Why Clean the Flame Sensor?

Over time, the flame sensor can accumulate dust, dirt, and other contaminants. A dirty sensor may not function correctly, leading to the following problems:

Frequent System Shutdowns: If your furnace seems to start but then shuts down almost immediately, a dirty flame sensor might be the culprit. It may misread the flame’s presence, causing the system to shut off prematurely.

Reduced Efficiency: Even if the furnace doesn’t shut down, a dirty sensor can make the system work harder, leading to reduced efficiency and increased energy bills.

Potential System Damage: Constant shutdowns and restarts can strain other furnace components, leading to premature wear and potential breakdowns.

Cleaning the flame sensor regularly can prevent these issues, ensuring a smoothly running furnace.

If you're attempting to clean the flame sensor yourself, exercise caution!

How to Clean The Flame Sensor

For those of you keen to give it a try, here’s a basic overview of the cleaning process:

Turn Off the Furnace: Safety first! Ensure the furnace is off and has had time to cool down.

Locate the Flame Sensor: Usually found near the burners, it often looks like a thin rod positioned in the path of the flame.

Remove the Flame Sensor: Using a wrench or appropriate screwdriver, carefully remove the sensor.

Clean the Sensor: Gently clean the rod with fine emery cloth, steel wool, or a soft brush, removing all dirt and residue.

Reinstall the Flame Sensor: Place the sensor back in its original position and secure it.

Turn the Furnace Back On: After ensuring everything is in place, turn the furnace back on.

For a more detailed, step-by-step visual guide, be sure to check out our latest video on the subject.

As with many things in life, prevention is often cheaper and more effective than a cure. By maintaining your furnace and particularly by cleaning its flame sensor, you can prevent costly breakdowns, save on energy bills, and extend the life of your heating system.

For further assistance or if you have questions about your HVAC system, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Brooks Heating and Air. As a side note, a flame sensor cleaning is one of the many benefits our comfort club members enjoy. Serving the Manassas, VA community, we’re here to ensure your comfort all year round.