Furnace Making Weird Noises?

Troubleshooting Loud Sounds from your Heater

New furnace in basement of Manhattan homeDuring cold Kansas winters, your furnace is probably the hardest working thing in your home. You likely are hearing it kick on and off periodically to keep up with making your home reach and maintain your desired temperature. But while those soft hums of a working furnace may be easy to ignore, some sounds are not.

Do you hear odd noises from your furnace? Are loud bangs or booms coming from your ducts? If so, you may be wondering if these sounds are something you should worry about. Well, they might be. Depending on what you’re hearing and where the sound is coming from, these odd noises could indicate problems with your furnace.

At Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we’ve encountered all sorts of furnace problems and sounds. We break down some of the common loud noises that heaters can make and what potential issues each could mean.

 

Troubleshooting 4 Types of LOUD Furnace Noises

 

Graphic: furnace making loud bangs

The heater turns on with a BANG!

You turn up the heat, and you hear what could be described as a gunshot! That’s definitely a startling sound. If you hear a loud bang or boom, you might have a serious problem. If a loud bang comes from your furnace when it first turns on, that could indicate a gas build-up. However, a bang could also indicate an issue that isn’t all that severe.

If you heard the sound coming more from your ductwork, that could be the loud sound of your ducts expanding or contracting. But if you’re not sure whether this sound came from the ducts, you don’t want to take any chances.

What should you do?

Turn off your heater and call for a fix. This is potentially a dangerous problem that requires professional help. Call us at (785) 776-5012, and we will come out and inspect your heating system. If you do have gas building up inside your furnace, this could cause more serious (and expensive) problems like a cracked heat exchanger. Getting this issue addressed ASAP is essential.

How to keep this problem from happening?

The good news is that a gas build-up is a preventable problem. Dirty burners can cause it, so maintenance on your heating system may stop it from occurring. Cleaning furnace burners is part of the maintenance service we provide at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Call us at (785) 776-5012 for maintenance service.

You may also consider joining our VIP Maintenance Program, which puts all your plumbing, heating, and cooling maintenance needs in our hands. You will receive routine maintenance each fall and spring, priority scheduling as well as a discount on repairs.

 

Graphic: rattling sound coming from heater

A rattling sound coming from your furnace

Are you hearing a persistent rattling coming from your HVAC system? This is probably an annoying sound and one that is hard to ignore. It could indicate a few things, including something as seemingly minor as a loose screw or panel that needs to be tightened or secured.

However, other issues can cause a rattling sound, such as a cracked heat exchanger. Have you recently heard a loud bang before the rattling began? That combination of sounds could happen when a heat exchanger has become, which puts your home at risk for a carbon monoxide leak.

What should you do?

If you feel confident in your repair skills, you could examine your furnace for any loose screws or panels and tighten them as needed. But if you can’t find anything loose or if that doesn’t stop the rattling, contact us. What’s causing your heater to rattle may be hard for a homeowner to diagnose on their own, so let one of our experienced furnace repair technicians inspect your system to uncover the real problem. Call us at (785) 776-5012.

Cracked Heat Exchanger blog article

 

Graphic: furnace sound of metal on metal

You hear grinding metal

If you hear a noise coming from your heating unit that sounds like metal on metal, that is a sound you shouldn’t ignore. It may sound like metal scraping or even clanking. Those metal sounds could mean you have a serious problem. It’s possible that your blower fan has gotten out of place and is banging up against the blower house casing.

What should you do?

Turn off your furnace and get it fixed quickly or at least before needing to use it again. You will want to call a heating and air professional to check it out. There may be problems inside the blower. These could be minor issues requiring little repair or something more problematic like a broken blower fan. In that case, it may need to be replaced.

 

Graphic: squealing sounds from HVAC

A squealing sound is coming from your furnace

It’s quite a shocker to suddenly hear a squealing or screeching coming from some part of your home. Problems with your furnace could be making this sound. While this may be quite an annoying sound to endure, the good news is that it could indicate some pretty minor issues. But it’s still not something you should ignore. Your heater may have a faulty belt, or there could be a problem with your fan motor. Some components in your system need to be lubricated. Regular maintenance could help prevent this problem from happening.

What should you do?
Contact us. While this sound could indicate relatively minor issues, you will want a trained HVAC technician to diagnose and fix accurately. Most likely, you need repairs that our furnace repair technicians can handle quickly and easily. But even minor issues, when left ignored, can turn into significant, expensive issues. While this may not be as urgent of a problem as other furnace sounds would indicate, you will want to get it handled before it turns into something worse.

Normal Furnace Sounds

Did you hear some other noise coming from your furnace? Your system will make sounds from time to time, and many of them aren’t indicative of a problem. You may hear chirping, humming, or even a pinging. These sounds are usually harmless and normal for a furnace to make.

But if you’re ever in doubt, or if the sounds are getting louder, you can always contact us at Standard in Manhattan. It’s always best to check out potential problems that may be fixed quickly and cheaply before becoming big and expensive.

Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning vans from decades ago and one today.

 

 

Help! My Air Conditioner Froze Up

5 REASONS WHY YOUR AC UNIT IS COVERED IN ICE

Finding ice covering your air conditioner is an odd sight to see in the middle of a hot Kansas summer. But it is an unfortunate problem that can happen because of a few different issues. A relatively minor issue may have caused the ice, but there are potentially more extensive breakdowns that can also cause an AC to freeze up.

Either way, there are some steps homeowners can and should take to help get their cooling system working again. Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning are your Manhattan area AC repair experts. We want to help you have the information you need so you do not have to face a hot home this summer.

What can you do when your air conditioner has frozen up?

You can start with a few DIY steps. A simple issue may be causing your air conditioner to freeze up, and it might be one you can repair quickly and cheaply!

Air conditioner froze up with ice on AC outdoor unit

 

The Most Common Causes to a Frozen AC

Keep reading to learn the most likely reasons why ice will develop on an air conditioner. Some of these causes are issues that many homeowners can try to tackle on their own. We will list the troubleshooting steps homeowners can handle to help resolve minor problems.

Other causes to a frozen AC will be best left to trained HVAC technicians who can accurately diagnose the problem and successfully resolve it.

 

THE FIRST TROUBLESHOOTING STEP

No matter why your air conditioner froze up, there is a basic – yet critical – step you must do first to get your AC starting to thaw out.

This step starts at your thermostat. Turn your thermostat OFF and then turn the fan ON.

This will allow your air conditioner to start defrosting. How long will it take for your AC to thaw out? On a hot Kansas summer day, your AC might be fully thawed in just a few of hours.

Do not try to speed up the process. While it might be tempting to rush the ice melting, do not try to melt the ice with any additional tools or devices. Do not try to chip the ice away or apply heat sources to your AC.

 

5 REASONS AN AIR CONDITIONER FREEZES UP

 

1. Insufficient Air Flow

Very dirty air filter that caused an AC unit to freeze up with iceThe most common reason an air conditioner coil freezes up is due to airflow. There is not enough air flowing over the evaporator coils. If there is not enough air flowing, the refrigerant gets too cold and might cause the coils to freeze.

The leading reading why the airflow could be hampered is that your air filter is dirty. A dirty filter can block or clog airflow and is a common cause for an air conditioner to freeze up.

While the AC is thawing out, check the air filter on your furnace. If it’s dark and dirty, replace it. It is possible you have not been changing out your filter as often as you should. Unfortunately, that is a mistake that a lot of homeowners make.

Once your air filter is replaced, and the air conditioner is fully thawed, try turning the thermostat back to COOL and see if your AC works now.

While you are at it, take a look at the vents throughout your home. Are they all open? While many people believe you should close any vents don’t need to save energy use, that is a misconception. The ducts in your home were laid out to work as a system. Closing off too many vents can cause a problem with the airflow.

You may be able to close a few vents without causing a problem, but it may lead to a frozen AC if you close too many.

Are any vents blocked or covered? Check the vents to make sure the air is not being obstructed. Move away any items (like furniture or curtains) that are blocking the vents.

 

2. Low Refrigerant Levels

Call Standard for 24/7 emergency repair in Manhattan, KS Being low on refrigerant (freon) is another common reason why an air conditioner has frozen up. Low refrigerant often means that there is a leak. This could be a dangerous problem, and it needs to be safely handled by a trained AC technician.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact Standard right away for a quick repair. Call us at (785) 776-5012.  We provide 24/7 emergency service in Manhattan, Wamego, Junction City, and the surrounding Kansas communities.

 

3. Dirty evaporator coils

Dirty evaporator coils are another problem that can cause an air conditioner to freeze.

A significant buildup of dirt or debris on a cooling system’s evaporator coils can prevent it from absorbing the heat it needs to produce cool air. If the air filter is clean and vents are not getting blocked yet you still have poor airflow, it is likely caused by a dirty coil.

Performing annual maintenance on your system should keep this problem from happening. Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides professional AC maintenance and tune-up service. Contact us to have the local pro’s handle your home comfort maintenance needs.

VIP AC and Furnace maintenance program

 

4. Mechanical Failures

A mechanical problem can cause an AC unit to freeze. There are many mechanical components to your home’s cooling system. And many different things could go wrong, such as a kink in a refrigerant line or a broken blower fan. These sorts of issues can change the pressure in your system, making your AC freeze up.

A malfunctioning blower motor is another mechanical problem that can freeze out an air conditioner. It is the part inside your unit that makes the fan blows return air over the evaporator coils. If an insufficient amount of air moves over the coils, your system will get too cold and could freeze up.

 

5. Inadequate AC or Ductwork for Size of your Home

There is such a thing as “too big” when it comes to air conditioners. You want the exact right size unit for the size of your home. A unit that is too big can cause problems, including a frozen AC system.

If you have a relatively new AC system or have had a reconfiguration of your ductwork, or you’ve had any remodeling done to your home, this situation may be more likely for you.

There is a formula for finding out precisely what type and size of AC is needed for each home. Schedule service with Standard, and we will come out and inspect your home to ensure you have the suitable unit you need. Of course, we’ll do that after we fix the frozen air conditioner and get cool air back and flowing through your home.

Standard Plumbing Heating & Air AC repair van in front of Manhattan shop

 

IS THE AC PROBLEM RESOLVED?

If one of the troubleshooting steps worked and cool air is flowing again, DO NOT STOP READING. You are not out of the woods yet.

You may have just fixed the problem temporarily. Let your cooling system continue working for a while, and then check to see if ice is forming again anywhere. If it has frozen up again, that means you have not resolved the core problem. And that means you need to have it checked by a professional AC repair technician.

Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is trained and experienced in servicing any type or model of air conditioner or cooling system. We provide 24/7 service to Manhattan, Wamego, Junction City, and the surrounding Kansas towns. Call on us to fix any AC problem. You can read reviews from people across the Manhattan area on why they say you can’t go wrong with Standard!

Call Standard today at (785) 776-5012.

 

 

Does a 2nd Floor Need a 2nd AC?

Cooling a 2 Story House: When to Install Another Air Conditioner

Graphic image of house showing the 2nd floor is too hot

Do You Live with a Hot Upstairs?

This is a common problem for a lot of large homes. The 2nd floor can never get properly cool in the summer. You may have to crank up the AC to get it to acceptable levels, meaning freezing out anyone on the first floor.

If you live in a 2 story house, you probably know this hot situation all too well. Here at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we have heard from many Manhattan homeowners who have been suffering with a hot upstairs.

There are a lot of old homes in Manhattan. Being the HVAC company that has serviced Manhattan homes for nearly a century, we have run across every type of heating and cooling problem. And fortunately, there are more solutions to achieve true home comfort in all rooms today than they were a hundred years ago. So even if we are dealing with a drafty old house, you do have options to make all floors on your home cool and comfortable this summer.

Potential Cooling Problems

  • Does your home have sufficient insulation? Many older ones do not. They can be so drafty that it’s virtually impossible to get consistent temperature control throughout the house.
  • Is your roof absorbing heat? Not only can a poorly insulated a roof cause a warmer upstairs, a roof made from materials that absorb heat could also play a role.
  • Did your home undergo an attic renovation? If so, that may be a part of the cooling problem. If proper adjustments were not made to your home’s heating & cooling system to accommodate this new living space, that could be affecting comfort levels in other parts of your home. A system that was originally designed for 1 floor will probably not give you comfortable temperature everywhere.

Understanding Why a 2nd Floor Gets So Hot

Hot air rises. Without utilizing any air conditioning system, your upstairs should always feel hotter because of this basic scientific fact. But even with central air or other HVAC system, some homes’ 2nd floors will still get hotter than the main level. After all, your single cooling system (with components usually located on the ground floor and basement) has to do more work to get that cool air all the way to your 2nd floor.

As you head into another hot Kansas summer, facing the dread of how uncomfortable it’s going to be on your 2nd floor, you may think you’re not left with a lot of options.

You may think your choices come down to either getting a larger, more energy-efficient air conditioner or just give up. You think there’s no real way to fix it, so you’ll just avoid spending time upstairs.

It’s your home. You deserve to be comfortable in all your rooms. There are solutions to having a hot upstairs!

When you have Standard help you finally solve your hot 2nd floor problem, the first thing we do is to determine the source of the problem.  Some of the issues we will look for include:

  • Could you have an issue with your duct work?
  • Do you need better insulation?
  • Is your AC unit the proper size to handle your home’s square footage?
  • Is your cooling system in proper working order?

When to Consider Getting 2 AC Units for a 2-Story House

Photo of 2 AC units installed outside homeWhile upgrading your air conditioner to a newer, bigger AC unit may be a solution, some homes will be better served with a 2nd AC. Instead of replacing what may be a perfectly working air conditioner with a larger one to accommodate your 2nd floor, you should get an AC unit installed to specifically address cooling the 2nd floor.

There are a few things to consider when trying to decide if you need a second air conditioning system installed:

 

AC INSTALLATION COST

An additional unit may cost less than what you think. After all, this AC is not going to cool the entire square footage of your home. A 2nd AC unit that works to only cool your 2nd floor would be much smaller than one that would be needed to cool your entire home.

Standard, or any professional HVAC company, will be careful to calculate exactly what size AC unit your rooms upstairs need. The square footage of your 2nd floor will determine the proper unit size. Give us a call at Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning at (785) 776-5012 and we will be able to determine exactly what air conditioner would be best for your home.

 

ENERGY WASTE & BILLS

New installation isn’t the other money matter. How much do you spend on your energy bill each month? It might sound surprising but by having 2 air conditioners to cool a 2-story home may save you money.

If you’ve been dealing with a single AC system that wasn’t built to handle all your space, you are putting a great demand on your system. It’s working to put out more cool air than it was designed to do. If you are making your downstairs cooler than comfortable to make it right upstairs, then you probably already have realized you are wasting energy (and money). An additional air conditioner focused on cooling just the upstairs will take the work away from the other unit.

 

PEACE OF MIND

Having 2 air conditioning units provides you with some unique assurance. You may feel more secure in knowing that your chance of a summer HVAC disaster is greatly reduced. If one of your air conditioners were to break down, you will have another unit still operating. While this lone unit won’t be sufficient to cool your entire home, you will at least have some level of cooling in your home until an AC repair technician come out and fix the broken air conditioner.

 

2nd AC LOCATION

Finding where to put a second AC system can be a challenge. This includes the inside unit (the evaporator) and the outside AC unit (the condenser). You may have limited space for installing a second air conditioner. In addition, a 2nd unit will need ductwork that is separate from existing ducts with your current unit. Our technicians can walk you through your options to make sure the best space is used for this installation.

 

DIY: Little Fixes for a Hot Second Floor

If you’re not ready to upgrade your homes system, or are still not sure that it is needed, you can try to remedy your problem with some smaller steps.

2 air conditioners installed at Manhattan, KS homeHere are some basic home maintenance tasks that can help solve some of the problem of overly hot spaces in a home:

  • Make sure your furnace filter is clean and is getting changed on a proper schedule
  • Make sure all of your vents are open and not being blocked by furniture or anything else
  • Close your window blinds and curtains in 2nd floor rooms to keep the sun from heating up the space

If these little steps do not provide enough relief to the heat in some of your space, give Standard a call at (785) 776-5012. We will be happy to come out and see what sort of cooling system work can be done to even out the temperature throughout your home.

Get Cool Relief Before Summer Strikes

Making a heating and air upgrade to your home is a big decision. Fortunately, it’s also an investment. This type of home improvement project can increase the value of your home.

Beyond a new AC or a 2nd AC, there are other great options to solving a second-floor temperature problem. A ductless mini split system could be installed to target the cooling in a room or particular space. Standard is Manhattan’s professional ductless mini-split systems installers. Our experienced team trained in ductless systems can help you determine if this is right for your home.

Call us at (785) 776-5012 and we will schedule an AC technician to come out and diagnose the cooling problems in your home. Or you can request a free estimate for service online. Let us help get you a cool and comfortable home on both floors before the summer comes!

Old AC and problem with discontinued R22 refrigerant

AC Won’t Turn On? DIY Repair Checklist

6 Steps to Fix an Air Conditioner That is Not Turning On

Are you waiting for cool air to come out of your vents, but your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be turning on? Your first reaction might be to call us or another Manhattan HVAC company to get it fixed ASAP. While you can definitely call us for a quick repair on a broken air conditioner, you might want to first see if it’s something you can fix yourself.

AC Won’t Turn On: When to Fix It Yourself

Photo of American Standard air conditioner unit in Manhattan, KSThere are several reasons why an air conditioner might not be turning on. While a trained HVAC technician will know how to handle whatever problem there is, many air conditioning issues are easy to spot and handle by almost anyone!

Sometimes our technicians are called out for problems that end up being simple enough for the homeowners to handle on their own.

While we’re always happy to come out and fix whatever AC problem you have, we want you to know about some of the smaller problems that don’t always require professional AC repair. After all, if it’s something you can fix on your own, you will save time and money!

When you realize your AC is not turning on, go through this 7-step checklist of potential problems. Some of these repairs are simple and can be done in a matter of minutes.

The 7 Step Checklist to Repairing a Broken AC

STEP 1: Check for a dirty air filter

Even if you think it’s not time to change your filter, pull it out and give it a good look (an air filter can get dirty faster than you probably realize). A dirty filter blocks proper airflow. It could even be clogged so much that it is stopping your AC from turning on.

If it is dirty, you may need to reevaluate how often you regularly change it. Each homeowner has different air filtration needs. Changing a filter only once every few months may not be enough for you, especially if you suffer from allergies or have pets.

STEP 2: Check your thermostat setting

Make sure your thermostat is set to COOL and is at least 5 degrees below the ambient temperature.

If your thermostat screen is blank, you may simply need to replace the batteries. For many thermostats, there is an area on the edge with the word PRESS. Just press that to remove the battery compartment. Some thermostats have a cover you will need to pull off to access the batteries.

If you are having problems with your thermostat or want to upgrade it, contact Standard for our thermostat options and services.

STEP 3: Check that your power is on

Infographic explaining basic steps to resetting a tripped circuit breakerSometimes the power can go off without it being immediately apparent, especially if it’s the middle of the day. If your power is off, a breaker may have gotten tripped.

Some people are hesitant to deal with any electrical problem. However, checking your breaker box and handling a flipped circuit is something that is good for homeowners to know how to do themselves.

HOW TO RESET A CIRCUIT BREAKER:

    1. Look for a switch that’s in the center position.
    2. Flip that switch to off then back to on.
    3. Wait for the power to return. If it doesn’t, or if the switch does not stay on, call a professional electrician.

STEP 4: Check if the AC power was turned off

This is a different issue than checking your home’s entire power situation. Look for a switch on or near the furnace and make sure it is in the ON position. It looks exactly like a light switch. It can be turned off by mistake by someone who didn’t realize what that switch was for. When it’s off, the furnace blower is off, and this can cause the inside unit to freeze.

STEP 5: Check for ice on your outside unit

If you see that there is ice covering your air conditioner, turn the AC off at the thermostat and turn the FAN to on. Give it time to defrost. Don’t use any sort of blower or heating device to speed up thawing and do not try to scrape the ice off.

If a frozen AC was your problem and this step gets your air conditioning back up and running, you should call an AC repair technician to come inspect your unit. A frozen condenser unit may mean you have a refrigerant leak which can be a danger to you and your family.

Open AC dirty with dirt and leaves and needing to be cleaned

STEP 6: Check for a dirty AC unit

If you see that your air conditioner is covered in dirt, pollen or other debris then it’s time to clean it. This is particularly true for us here in Kansas. Every spring we face a problem with white clumps that fall from cottonwood trees. Those seeds can really clog up the coils on your AC unit.

Before cleaning your air conditioner, turn it off at the outside service disconnect panel. You will need to remove the top and any other outer caging and take out the fan. With a garden hose, spray from the inside out all around the inside of the unit. Then spray the exterior of the unit.

Standard provides professional air conditioner cleaning and maintenance service. Call us at (785) 776-5012 if you want to let us handle your AC maintenance needs.

STEP 7: Check the condensate drain line for a clog

This one may be seem complicated, but it is a task that many homeowners will find they can handle themselves. The condensate drain line takes the water that is created by condensation from the AC unit to drain outside the home. A clogged drain line might trip a safety switch that shuts down your cooling system. You can try unclogging this line by using a wet-dry vacuum to suction the blockage out.

When in Doubt, Call on Standard!

Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning has 24/7 emergency AC repair service in Manhattan, KS Standard Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning has worked on thousands of air conditioners and other cooling systems across the Manhattan, KS area. Our AC repair technicians have years of experience fixing broken cooling systems and have seen all types of AC problems. Schedule service with our HVAC repair team to fix whatever is causing your air conditioner to not turn on.

Call Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning– available 24/7 – at (785) 776-5012.

Promotional ad for blog on the R22 refrigerant phase out

When Does My Furnace Not Stay Lit?

A Common Gas Furnace Problem: Dirty Flame Sensor

While there are a lot of parts working inside your heating system, one of the most common reasons for a furnace breaking down is because of one particular part – the flame sensor.

Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has been repairing furnaces in the Manhattan, KS area for nearly 100 years. So you can imagine that we have seen just about every different kind of heating problem there is.  Often a system may seem completely broken, but actually, it can be easily fixed.

Sometimes we respond to a call from a homeowner who tells us that, up until recently, their furnace was working fine. They could hear the burners come on, but pretty quickly the furnace shuts off. This can be very confusing for a homeowner, but it’s often a problem that we can easily solve. Not only that, but it may also be one you can solve yourself!

This common furnace problem is a dirty flame sensor.

Clean furnace flame sensor in hand

What is a Flame Sensor?

A furnace flame sensor is a stainless-steel rod with a ceramic or porcelain cover. You’ll find it behind the burners, most typically on the opposite side of the ignitor. Simply put, its job is to sense when there is a flame. When there is, the flame sensor signals for your furnace to keep sending gas to keep the heat going.

Does every furnace have a flame sensor?

No. If yours has a spark ignitor instead of a flame sensor rod, then the furnace ignitor is also doing the job of a sensor.

How does a flame sensor work?

Your furnace has a control board that sends electricity to the flame sensor, which then carries the flame to the burner face. The sensor lets the control board know that the current is flowing. That tells the control board to continue allowing gas to flow, too.

If the sensor doesn’t tell the control board that the current is going where it should, then the gas valve closes, and the heat stops coming through your vents.

Flame sensor near burners inside a furnace

DIY Steps for a Dirty Flame Sensor

It is natural for a flame sensor to become dirty over time. But if it gets too dirty, it could stop doing its job. The control board will not be able to sense the current is flowing if the sensor is covered in too much build up.

Fortunately, is it quite easy to clean a flame sensor. Most sensors are easily accessible and so a homeowner may want to clean it themself.

Scotch-Brite™ pad to be used to clean a dirty flame sensorHOW TO CLEAN A FLAME SENSOR

    1. Turn off the furnace power switch.
    2. Remove the sensor rod. It should be easy to remove with a screwdriver. Do not use a wrench, as that could cause the sensor’s cover to crack.
    3. Using a Scotch-Brite™ pad, rub the sensor rod to clean it of all dirt and gunk. Do not use anything harsh like sandpaper.

ADDITIONAL CLEANING NOTES

    • You can use a dollar bill to clean it. Just fold the bill over the rod and, while tightly gripping it, rub it back and forth until the rod becomes somewhat shiny.
    • Do not touch the flame sensor with your fingers. The oils on your hands can get on the sensor and make it more prone to get dirty later.

Furnace Shutdown

Having a dirty flame sensor causing your furnace to stop working can mean you are facing an additional issue. A dirty sensor that is causing the ignition to go out over and over again may eventually cause the furnace to stop working. This is likely just a temporary shutdown, but one that will need to be dealt with in order to get it up and running again soon.

This shut down happens with furnaces that have particular safety function. If a furnace control board senses ignition attempts have failed 5 times in a row, it may shut down the furnace automatically and stay off for a few hours.

There is a work-around to waiting several hours. If there is no safety risk (like a gas leak), a furnace can be reset to bypass this wait. To do this, turn off the furnace’s power switch and wait about 10 seconds before turning it back on.

When to Replace the Sensor

It is not likely a flame sensor needs to be replaced. You should be able to sufficiently clean a sensor no matter how dirty it is. But they are not expensive parts, and you can choose to replace it instead of cleaning it. There are different shapes of flame sensors so be sure you are purchasing the proper kind.

Baxter straight flame sensor rod Rheem curved flame sensor

What if Cleaning the Flame Sensor Doesn’t Fix the Problem?

If after cleaning the dirty sensor the furnace still won’t stay lit, you may find that the burner face is dirty.

To clean the burner face, remove the front plate of the burners with a screwdriver. You will want to be careful to not bump the ignitor. Ignitors are fragile and can be damaged from the oils on your hands.

Individual burners typically pop out easily. You’ll likely find the burner closest to the flame sensor is the dirtiest. If the burner’s base is dirty or corroded, clean it with sandpaper, steel wool or Scotch-Brite pad.

Potential Electronic Issues

Cleaning a flame sensor or burners will not get the furnace running again if the problem is an electronic one. A wire may simply be loose or broken, keeping the electric current from getting to the sensor. A trained and experienced HVAC technician will be able to detect whatever the problem is and fix it.

Standard provides emergency furnace repair serviceContact Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning to handle whatever furnace repair or service you need.

With a team full of qualified heating repair technicians, we can repair and service any heating system or unit. We provide service to homeowners and businesses in Manhattan, Junction City, Wamego and surrounding Kansas towns.

You can rely on our team of highly trained and experienced technicians to get the job done quickly, professionally, and safely. Call us at (785) 776-5012. We are available for emergency furnace repairs 24/7.