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An Overview Of Furnace Flame Rectification And Associated Issues

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Gas furnaces perform a relatively simple function — they heat houses. However, the furnaces rely on a series of not-so-simple processes to perform these functions efficiently and safely. Flame rectification is one of these processes. Below is an overview of flame rectification and its associated problems.

The Background

In a typical gas furnace, the ignition systems produce a spark or hot surface that lights the burners. The burners burn an air-fuel mixture that produces the heat that warms your house. HVAC manufacturers use flame rectification to ensure furnace burners don't get fuel without ignition.

For this process, the manufacturers fit the furnace with a small metal rod. Whenever the furnace burners ignite, the flame heats the metal rod (flame sensor) that converts the heat energy into electrical energy. The furnace control system uses the presence or absence of electrical signals from the flame sensor to keep the burners on or turn them off.

The Problem

A problem arises when the proving system fails and incorrectly registers burners as off even when they are running. With such a problem, the furnace burners automatically switch off (due to lack of fuel) even though they should run. As you can imagine, the issue might leave you without heat when you need heating the most.

Secondly, a flame-sensing problem may allow burners to get fuel even when they shouldn't. The fuel can accumulate in the furnace or fill your house, increasing the risk of an explosion. In addition, the gas might escape into the atmosphere and pollute the environment.

A furnace might experience flame-sensing problems if the flame sensor is broken or clogged with dirt. Dirt on the rod, which usually comes from the air around the furnace or combustion byproducts, insulates it from the heat.

The Solution

Solutions to flame rectification problems depend on each problem's cause. For example, you have to replace the flame sensor if something breaks or causes it to damage beyond repair.

You can clean the flame sensor and get it working again if debris accumulation is the only problem. Steel wool or a stiff wire brush is ideal for cleaning. Be gentle and avoid abrasive cleaning materials, such as sandpaper, that might damage the rod.

Hopefully, your furnace won't experience flame rectification issues anytime soon. Regular maintenance, which includes furnace cleaning, can help prevent such problems. Contact a professional heating technician for furnace maintenance. You should also contact a technician if your furnace shows flame rectification problems or other problems that interfere with heating.

For more information on heating services, contact a company near you.