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What a Flame Sensor Is and Why It Matters

Scheduling your routine furnace maintenance helps keep your heating equipment working up to 30% more efficient and helps extend the life of your system. But things can still stop working, and when they do, you might feel like there is always something else. 

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

Also, what is a flame sensor? 

A flame sensor is a crucial safety component on your gas heating system. During the ignition pattern, your gas furnace undergoes a process where either a hot surface ignitor or a spark will ignite the gas. Once the gas is ignited, the flame sensor generates a current of electricity. The electricity is quantified in micro amps. If the furnace’s control board fails to read the right level of micro amps, the furnace will stop giving the system fuel to stop an explosion. 

Over time, if the flame sensor is not adequately cleaned, oxidation or carbon buildup can impede the flame sensor’s ability to function properly, which can result in a malfunction of the furnace. 

The way to determine if an unclean flame sensor is causing 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 culprit, the furnace expert will clean the sensor with steel wool. If dirt was the single factor, we will see a much higher amp reading. If the reading doesn’t change, the technician will proceed with the heating equipment repair diagnostic process. 

If you aren’t confident 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 give you a full furnace maintenance or a free in-home estimate on a new heating system. 

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