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mark2741 11-15-2012 11:48 AM

Gas Furnace - Only First Two Burners Fire (Video Included)
This is an intermittent problem:

The York "Stellar" gas furnace operates most of the time, but once or twice per day now it will not 'fire' all the way. I pulled the cover off and took a video and caught the problem: only the first two burners are igniting/firing.

Here is a link to the ~25 second video of the problem:

This has been happening for the past few days. Initially thought it was the thermostat but replaced that and problem persisted. The furnace works fine most of the day but then we'll walk by the thermostat and it will be a few degrees lower. Turning the furnace power on and off usually fixes it temporarily.

Would cutting off the gas/power, removing the burner cover and then cleaning out the burner tubes be a likely solution?

Brian_Martin 11-15-2012 01:50 PM

i know what it is
Blocked Burners.

Pull them and clean them.

Good Luck.

Brian Martin.

mark2741 11-15-2012 04:17 PM

Ugh - broken pipe!
So, figuring it was clogged burners, I carefully started to remove the cover. Prior to this I had noticed that there was a bolt sticking out of the cover with it's nut not fully tightened (not even close, it was about an inch away, just a few threads in). I remember noticing this whenever I'd change filters. Turns out it was the culprit - it's purpose is to hold the small diameter pipe that sits above the burners and I presume distribute gas. Because it was loose, it literally broke in two. Before I removed the cover I felt the bolt and it was just sliding in and out easily. Once I removed the cover, there was half the pipe just laying there. See the pic:

Looks to be a dangerous situation, so I will be leaving the unit as is and not powering it back up. I called a service tech and they'll be out tomorrow morning. Hopefully they'll have the part/can order it and it won't cost me an arm and a leg : (

Incidentally, I distinctly remember the last time I had it serviced (about 2 summers ago) the tech had trouble getting the cover back on and he left this bolt loose. Should have known...

yuri 11-15-2012 04:54 PM

That pipe is called a flame runner/crossover tube and it is absolutley necessary to carry the flame/gas over to lite the burners. You have a VERY dangerous situation without it and the furnace cannot be used that way or you will get a huge backfire/delayed ignition and flame rollout. Hopefully it is not obsolete but I would be prepared for that scenario due to its age. Sorry.:(

mark2741 11-15-2012 05:25 PM

Thanks Yuri.

Yeah, as soon as I looked and saw that broken pipe I knew it was dangerous. I'm fortunate to have found it when I did and not have any issues prior. Thinking about it further, the pipe is broken right at the 2nd burner. The first and 2nd burners are the only ones working, so the broken crossover was the cause all along.

I've cut the gas and power to the furnace. An HVAC tech is scheduled to be here tomorrow morning between 8 and 12. I warned the wife already that there will be no heat tonight and likely not for a week if:

a. A replacement part has to be ordered
b. A new furnace has to be ordered and installed

Horrible timing for me...:(

yuri 11-15-2012 06:04 PM

Looks about 15-20 yrs old to me. Going to be more expensive repairs in the future/circuit board and exhaust fan so you need to decide whether the $$ are worth investing in a new unit or delaying the ineveitable with this one.

hvac5646 11-15-2012 06:55 PM


Originally Posted by yuri (Post 1053040)
Looks about 15-20 yrs old to me. Going to be more expensive repairs in the future/circuit board and exhaust fan so you need to decide whether the $$ are worth investing in a new unit or delaying the ineveitable with this one.


mark2741 11-15-2012 09:31 PM

I spoke with a relative over the phone tonight. He is not an HVAC tech but has an HVAC license and has done that work in the past. I sent him some pics and he says that getting a replacement pipe should be no problem, and worst-case simply getting a coupling to reattach the broken pipe would work fine.

I'll update this thread with the outcome of what the tech that comes tomorrow morning says.

mark2741 11-20-2012 07:34 PM

A final update to close out this thread.

I'm happy to report that the furnace has been working since Saturday morning. I disconnected the crossover tube and brought it to a relative's workshop, where he had a welder weld it back together. I reinstalled it into the system and the heat has been working fine since.

That said, since the furnace is 23 years old and I don't want to have to troubleshoot/repair it myself (since the local HVAC techs apparently don't know/don't want to deal with welding), I'm looking into getting it replaced. Will start a new thread on that topic : )

yuri 11-20-2012 07:58 PM

Glad you got it working and yeah it is at the end of its practical useful life and is going to keep breaking down and be a $$ repair pit and unreliable. York makes a good product and that one did well for you.

Missouri Bound 11-20-2012 09:39 PM

Mark, judging from your posts and well thought out solution, have you considered replacing the furnace yourself? Lots of money to be saved if you do but warranty can be an issue for DIY'ers.:yes:

mark2741 11-20-2012 09:51 PM

I have. And a close relative is a licensed HVAC tech (has the license, but is in an electrician by trade and only got the license because his employer paid for him to take the test if he wanted to).

He's offered to install (and purchase on my behalf a Goodman unit that he can get for pretty cheap), but the guy has helped me out so many times due to emergencies like this heater breakdown that I just don't want to burden him even more. As for me - I'm not very handy. I attempt lots of stuff and am eventually successful, but it always takes longer than it should. And I struggle.

So I'm leaning towards paying for a new unit/install by a pro, but am considering having my relative do it if he still wants to.

One thing that came up from the salesman during the recent estimates I got for a replacement - they all said that the newer furnaces are much shorter and that my air conditioning unit, made by ICP, is a wierd size/width so they'll have to fashion a new connection/duct to match them. Also they were mostly all unanimous that my 'return drop' is undersized. Little things like that, that neither I or my relative would know, would likely throw a monkey wrench into trying to DIY this job.

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