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Why the Burners Aren’t Lighting on Your Gas Furnace

gas-energy-flamesIt’s not a fun situation to turn on your furnace during a cold day or night only to have nothing happen. The burners don’t ignite, and there’s no heat. There’s probably no danger in this situation, since modern gas furnaces are built to prevent an accumulation of unburned gas if the burners don’t come on. But you still have a non-working furnace and a freezing house.

What’s the problem? And is there anything you can do about it on your own? Let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look …

A circuit breaker has tripped

Gas furnaces don’t run exclusively on natural gas power. Contemporary furnaces use electronic ignition systems to light up the burners, either directly with a hot surface igniter, or indirectly with an intermittent pilot light. If the blower motor in the furnace causes a power overload that trips the circuit breaker, not only will the motor fail to come on, the burners won’t fire either. Check the electrical panel to see if there’s a tripped breaker and reset it. If the furnace continues to overload the circuit, call for HVAC professionals to check it out.

The electronic ignition system has broken

Like any electrical component, the igniter for a furnace can break. This is probably the most common malfunction in gas furnaces. It could be an electrical failure, such as with the control board or bad wiring, or the igniter may have cracked. Don’t try to fiddle with the igniter on your own: a professional can diagnose what’s wrong and then have the igniter replaced. This is an easy and fast job for an experienced HVAC technician, and the furnace will be back to working shape in no time.

Dirty or rusty burners

A layer of grime across the burners cuts off the supply of oxygen necessary for the burners to light. If the burners have started to corrode, this will also stop them from igniting. A furnace technician can remove the burners and clean them.

Open safety switch

The safety precautions in a gas furnace can also prevent the furnace from turning on—which is a good thing! But the furnace will still need to be repaired before you can enjoy heat from it. If the safety switch is open, the burners won’t turn on. A number of different problems in the furnace can trip this safety switch, including a malfunctioning blower, an overly dirty air filter, or a clogged flue. A technician must run tests on the various systems to find out where the problem is so the furnace can be restored to running safely.

We can’t stress enough the importance of calling licensed technicians to look into the problem and repair it. It’s potentially hazardous to work with any appliance connected to a gas main unless you have the proper training and tools.

For Durham, NC HVAC services from a professional team with over twenty years of experience, call on us. We take the time to listen to our customers so we can meet their needs with cost-effective solutions, from repairs to replacements.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves the Triangle Area of North Carolina. We want you to enjoy the comfort you deserve!

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