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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Why Won’t My Gas Furnace’s Burners Light?

natural-gas-burners-flame-furnaceWhen a gas furnace comes on, it makes a distinct whoosh sound as the electronic ignition system or standing pilot light ignites the gas jets on the burners. It’s a comforting noise that tells you the furnace is doing its job, generate heating, and the sound of the blower fan will tell you that the heat will soon move through the ventilation system to reach the rooms.

But what if the burners don’t light? This is a problem you may run across, and if the burners aren’t igniting, it will usually cause the furnace to shut down entirely as part of safety precaution built into it. Why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

Check the pilot light (if there is one)

If you have an older furnace that uses a standing pilot light to ignite the burners, you should check to see if the pilot is still lit. If it’s gone out, follow the furnace instructions to attempt to relight it. If it will not stay lit, there is probably something wrong with the pilot assembly, and fixing it will require the work of professionals. 

We have to stress using professionals for any gas furnace repair. If it’s more complicated than relighting a pilot light, you only want trained experts for the service. Amateur work can be dangerous.

Failed electronic ignition system

If your furnace uses an electronic ignition system (which is true of most newer furnaces), the problem could be that the igniter has broken or burned out. In fact, most ignition systems will not last for the full lifetime of their furnace and need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking sound at startup, before the burners shut down, it may be a failed igniter. Technicians can easily replace this part. 

Malfunctioning flame sensor

It’s possible that a malfunction in one of the safety devices for the furnace is causing the problem. The flame sensor is a device that detects if the burners are lit. If it doesn’t detect flames after the burners have come on, it will signal to the gas valve to shut off the flow of natural gas to avoid a harmful build-up of unburned gas. If the part malfunctions, it could keep the gas valve shut so the burners never receive gas.

Stuck gas valve

The valve on the gas line could be stuck, which will also create a clicking sound. If the flame sensor is working properly, it will attempt to close this gas valve after it detects no flames from the burners. 

Dirty or obstructed burners

The burners may have accumulated grime or carbon particles that are blocking their access to the oxygen needed for ignition. You can’t clean the burners off on your own: professionals must detach the burner assembly and carefully clean it. 

Whatever service you need to restore your furnace in Cincinnati, OH to full working condition, you can trust our team to provide it. We have 24-hour emergency service available for when you need us the most.

“For a Comfortable Way of Life,” call Bartels Heating & Cooling. We service Hamilton, OH and the surrounding area.

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