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shwank 10-06-2010 07:10 PM

Heil Furnace Pilot Light Not Igniting
I've used this forum many time for knowledge... this is my first time posting. My Heil furnace (not sure of the model number) is original to my house so its going on 20 years old. 2 years ago, the furnace wouldn't fire. I diagnosed it as far as I could before I called a tech. It was the pilot orifice that was clogged and wasn't bringing gas to the pilot light. He replaced that and it worked fine.

Today, I go to turn on my heat, the system turns on but no heat. I go to check and I didn't hear the usually ticking sound you hear from the pilot light. I turned the system off, checked to make sure the line to the pilot wasn't clogged and lightly cleaned the pilot. Still nothing. No ticking sound like its trying to fire.

Two things.

1. our gas went out when they hit a gas line in front of my house about a week ago. When the gas company came to turn it back on, he didn't attempt to turn on the furnace. He just checked the range to make sure the gas was working. He said the furnace should be fine. Not sure if this is related?

2. When I had the pilot out, I had the line from the valve? to the pilot disconnected. I turned the system on to see if I could smell gas coming out. I am a little nervous doing this but I remember the tech doing it before. I only left it on for a few seconds but I didn't smell any gas coming out? Not sure if this is related to the above? Or maybe a bad valve?

I know I've read other posts about a board and lights.. but my board doesn't seem to have any of this.

So, looking to see if any experts have any opinions on this before I call a tech yet again.

Also, any opinions on whether I should get a new system instead of doing repairs? One thing to add. Every year we have to add freon to our AC system as our system has a small leak that they can't detect. That's usually $150+ / year. So, given that, the age of my system and the tax credits, is it worth just getting a new system?

Thanks for your help!

yuri 10-06-2010 07:37 PM

Your gas line to the furnace may be full of air/air locked and need bleeding/purging. Call the gas co as they should have done that safely for you.

shwank 10-06-2010 07:39 PM

Thanks. I'm going to give them a call.

Question.. if there were no gas coming to the valve, would the pilot light not try to fire then? Could that be why I don't hear that ticking sound?

hvaclover 10-06-2010 07:43 PM

The gas line needs bleeding. Crack the union til you smell gas for a count of five.....ventilate the area for ten minutes than re try. Repeat as necessary.

shwank 10-06-2010 07:56 PM

So I went down to bleed the line. Then I noticed / remembered that the gas pipe that enters my furnace has a T on it where the line to my gas fireplace is connected. So I just turned on my gas fireplace for about 10 minutes as I think that should take any air out of the system? Unless there could be air between the T in the pipe and my furnace?

After running it for 10+ minutes, still nothing. No ticking from the pilot light. I don't think I see any union I could crack anywhere else? I will add I'm not real knowledgeable! :)

yuri 10-06-2010 07:59 PM

There is one old WR gas valve with a built in pressure switch which may lockout on some old ICG/ICP units. Bleed the gas line ONLY if you are careful or get them to do it. The furnace may need several retries after the bleeding but it will take forever if it is not bled out thru the union. Needs to be soap tested after closing the union. Post some pics of the gas valve and burners and front of furnace with doors off. Dozens of different Heils out there.

shwank 10-06-2010 08:19 PM

The valve is a honeywell valve. I did see where the union was. It is in the unit right before the valve.. was looking outside the unit before. It looks pretty old and rusty. My gas company is closed until tomorrow morning.

Here are the pictures.

Just uploaded them to a website.

yuri 10-06-2010 08:24 PM

That is a knarly, nasty old furnace. Should try and spark as the grey S86 control will try and relight the pilot. It may be failed. The black exhaust fan is VERY expensive and almost obsolete. I would not spend any $$ on that furnace. The burners corrode and leak flames out the sides too. They are obsolete where I am.

shwank 10-06-2010 08:34 PM

Yeah, I knew it was on its last let. The exhaust fan is kicking on when I turn the system on. I just don't hear anything from the pilot. And when testing, I could tell there was no gas going to the pilot.

So I'm guessing without having gas going to the pilot, it won't try to fire. Do you think its worth having the gas company come out to try and bleed the system? Do I tell them my system won't fire and I think its because the line needed to be bleed?

yuri 10-06-2010 08:43 PM

No. The S86 ignition control will try to fire the spark even when the gas is off. Need to see if it is getting power thru the pressure switch etc. Not an easy unit to troubleshoot. May have lost its grounding or have other problems. The grey box is the ignition control, may be a Fenwal, same idea as the honeywell S86.

shwank 10-06-2010 08:52 PM

Thank you for all your help. I'll play around with the wires to see if anything came loose over the summer.

kenmac 10-06-2010 09:18 PM

If you have the knowledge to beed the gas lines . You should be able to jump the ps & see if you get it to fire

hvaclover 10-06-2010 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by kenmac (Post 512714)
If you have the knowledge to beed the gas lines . You should be able to jump the ps & see if you get it to fire

can you make a necklace from gas beeds?

shwank 10-07-2010 06:41 AM

Unfortunately I have no real knowledge on how to bleed the gas line so jumping the 'ps' probably is difficult (not sure what a ps is? :) ). From what yuri said, the pilot should try to ignite even if its not getting gas. Its not. And there's no gas coming out of the valve. So it seems as though something is wrong with my valve.

Given the age of the unit (almost 20 years), the problems I have with it and my AC every year, and the expiring tax credit, I think we just might go with a new furnace and AC unit. I'm tired of dumping $200 in the thing every 6 months.

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