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First Choice Heating & Cooling Blog

Why the Burners in Your Furnace Won’t Stay Lit

furnace-burners-smallA gas furnace works by combusting natural gas sent to the burners, which produce hot combustion gas the heater uses to warm the air entering the ductwork of the home. In most modern furnaces, an electronic ignition system lights the burners once gas starts flowing to them, and the burners remain on as long as necessary for the furnace to heat the house to the desired temperature.

You may find yourself in a colder house if the burners in your furnace don’t remain lit but keep going out early. There may be a simple explanation for this problem, but in many cases you’ll need to call a professional for furnace service Brighton, MI. Working with a gas furnace, as with any gas-powered appliance, is potentially dangerous for someone who isn’t licensed and equipped for the job. 

What might cause the burners in your furnace to go out early? Here are some possibilities… 

Clogged furnace filter

The burners need airflow to light and remain lit, and this becomes a problem if the furnace can’t draw enough air through the combustion chamber. Airflow through the furnace comes from the return air ducts and must pass through a filter (which keeps dust and debris from getting into the furnace). This filter will become clogged after one to three months, and unless it’s replaced with a clean one, it can cause the burners to go out early.

Faulty or dirty flame sensor

The flame sensor is a safety device that registers if the gas from the burners has lit. If the gas doesn’t light, the flame sensor signals to the gas valve to shut off so no more unburned gas floods the combustion chamber. If the flame sensor gets a layer of grime over it or becomes faulty, it may mistakenly shut off the gas even though the burners ignited. Professionals can clean or replace the flame sensor to correct this. 

Control board problems

The control board of the furnace manages the sequence for heating cycles, turning on and shutting off the gas and regulating other components. The control board may lose connections that will cause it to shut down the furnace’s heating cycle early, turning off the gas burners. You will need to have expert technicians examine the control board to find out what’s wrong. 

Thermostat problems

The issue may lie in the thermostat. If it’s misreading temperatures in the house, the thermostat might incorrectly sense the furnace has already finished a full heating cycle and shut down the burners early. The thermostat may malfunction in other ways that lead to it prematurely turning off the burners.

Grime and carbon on the burners

The gas burners may have developed a layer of dust and dirt, or a build-up of carbon, that makes it difficult for them to access the oxygen needed to light and stay lit. (This is one of the reasons you have a filter to protect the furnace’s interior.) Don’t try to clean off the burners as a DIY project. Call our technicians—they’ll detach the burners and clean them safely and thoroughly.

First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton, Linden, Holly, and the surrounding areas. If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice.

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