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Why Won’t the Burners in My Gas Furnace Light?

burners-in-furnaceThis is something that will cause a sudden pit of panic in your stomach: it’s a cold winter day and when you turn the furnace on … nothing happens. The burners won’t ignite and you can’t see the blue color of the flames in the cabinet. That means no heat for the house. 

There’s no reason to panic, however, since you can always get the furnace repair in Burlington, VT you need with a call to our professionals. Although there are a few simple troubleshooting steps you can try when a furnace isn’t responding, don’t attempt to make any actual repairs yourself. Only trained professionals can safely repair a gas furnace.

Reasons for Failed Burner Ignition

Let’s delve deeper into why you have a furnace that isn’t providing heat because the burners won’t light.

  • The furnace switch is off: This one is unlikely at this point in the winter. Sometimes people forget to switch the furnace back on after it was shut down for the summer, but chances are high that you’ve already been running the furnace regularly by now.
  • The furnace’s breaker has tripped: A gas furnace still must have electricity to run. It powers the control panel and the electronic ignition system. Reset any tripped breakers, but don’t continue to run the furnace if a breaker trips repeatedly. Call for repairs instead.
  • The pilot light has gone out: If you have an older furnace that still uses a standing pilot light to ignite the burners, check to see if it has gone out. Try to relight it. If it won’t stay lit, there is probably a gas flow issue, or the pilot light assembly needs cleaning. We also recommend looking into getting a new furnace, since if this one uses a pilot light, it’s probably due to be replaced.
  • The electronic igniter has failed: For most furnaces, an electronic ignition system lights the burners rather than a pilot light. These igniters can burn out or crack and fail, in which case the flame sensor will shut off the gas flow to the burners for safety. You will need to have technicians replace the ignition system, which is a standard and easy repair for them to do. 
  • Broken gas valves: If the valves on the gas lines become stuck, no gas will flow to the burners. You may hear a clicking sound coming from the furnace when this happens, which is the igniter turning on and trying to light the burners, but failing because there is no gas coming from them. 
  • Dirty burners: The burners must have access to oxygen in order to combust fuel. If the burners are covered with grime or carbon particles, they may not be able to ignite. Technicians must remove the burners and safely clean them. 
  • Control board malfunction: The control board is the brain and central switching station for the furnace, containing the relays and circuits that operate the furnace. If the board malfunctions or relays become blocked, it can cause the ignition to fail or the furnace’s safety mechanisms to prevent gas from going to the burners. 

These aren’t the only sources for failed burners. You can trust that our professional technicians will find out what’s wrong and have it corrected so you can enjoy a warm house once more. 

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves the Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY area. Call us for 24-hour emergency service.

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