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Old 12-23-2011, 12:01 PM   #1
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Flame Sensor Rod


Hello,

We moved into our house in 2009. That winter I had to remove/clean the flame sensor rod in my furnace due to it lighting and going out multiple times before shutting off and going into "watchdog mode"

I cleaned it with steel wool and that fixed the problem. Now, 2 years later I just had to do the same thing again due to the same problem. The combustoin air is coming from inside the house (unfinished/uninsulated basement).

Is is normal for the sensor to foul up in just 2 years? should this be cleaned yearly on a PM? Should I be getting a new sensor just in case?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Is is normal for the sensor to foul up in just 2 years? should this be cleaned yearly on a PM? Should I be getting a new sensor just in case?
Ayuh,.... The Whole furnace should be cleaned, 'n serviced Every year,...
Including the flame sensor...
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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Flame Sensor Rod


Thanks Bondo. By whole furnace, do you mean the flame sensor, inside the heat exchanger, and all the other dusty and cobweb areas inside and out?

Or is there more to cleaning that I'm not thinking of?

I think we will get an inspection done just because, other than installing a new AC, we have never had someone professional look very close at the furnace. But yearly cleaning is something I'd rather do myself if I could.
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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Flame Sensor Rod


Really flame senor should be replaced after so many cleaning done on it. I have a meter to check ohms and with a loud tone. If i lose the tone by the end of sensor that's even after cleaning. I replace it.
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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yes we replace it if it was cleaned more than 3 times not that expensive....
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:45 PM   #6
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Flame Sensor Rod


Furnaces come with a user manual and in the manual they will tell you what needs to be serviced and when.

If you don't have a manual you can look one up on the internet. Just 'Google' the make and model of your furnace.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:11 AM   #7
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Flame Sensor Rod


What else is in the room with the furnace? Any chemical stored there like soaps/cleaners, fabric softener, etc.
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Old 12-24-2011, 07:13 AM   #8
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Pete what is the brand and model and serial # of your unit. Some brands/models need cleaning every yr and some can go 2-3 or more yrs. Damp basements and fabric softener sheets are bad for corroding them ( keep them in a ziploc container). Face of the burner it sits in front of needs cleaning also. Sensors are nothing more than a piece of steel/metal and can last forever. Only time I change them is if the porcelain breaks. We have 27 yr old sensors in Pulse furnaces that have never been cleaned or removed and work just fine.
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Old 12-24-2011, 07:49 AM   #9
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Flame Sensor Rod


Ditto. The only flame sensors I've ever had to replace were because the ceramic broke. It's just a steel rod, don't gouge the thing and it will last the life of the furnace.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:23 AM   #10
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It really is not a 'sensor" but a electrode. Flame rectification 101 and google "flame rectification" for more info. One of the most misunderstood principles in our biz which very few techs truly understand. 2 brownie points for the first tech that mentions which unit uses this setup (except Marty)

http://wwww.gasfitterbasics.com/gas_controls_2.htm
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:23 AM   #11
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yes we replace it if it was cleaned more than 3 times not that expensive....
Never heard that one before..............been sanding them down to a tooth pick and they still have strong signal.........
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:29 AM   #12
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As long as the porcelain base isn't cracked I will just clean it.

A pretty good article on flame rectification...
http://contractingbusiness.com/feature/cb_imp_13002/
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:26 PM   #13
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Hi guys. Merry Christmas! I do have fabric softener, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets stored in a cupboard about 15 feet away. The furnace is a Lennox G50UH-36A-07 0-02.
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Old 12-26-2011, 02:51 AM   #14
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If when you go into the room you can smell any of those things. Then they ae making it into the combustion air, and can cause the flame sensor to corrode/get dirty quicker then it should.
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Old 12-26-2011, 07:33 AM   #15
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that is one of the worst for having to clean the flame sensor once a yr. we sold 1000s of them where I am. you also need to take emory paper and scrub the face of the burner it sits in front of down to clean metal. gets rusty/corroded and creates low signals. put your fabric softener sheets and soaps in a large tupperware/rubbermaid container.

google: flame rectification for more info
http://wwww.gasfitterbasics.com/gas_controls_2.htm
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