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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Why the Burners in Your Furnace Aren’t Lighting


It’s nice to know that whenever you need warmth in your home during the long winter, you only have to adjust the thermostat and your furnace turns on and starts sending heated air through the ducts to the rooms… 

…except when it doesn’t. A furnace can’t be guaranteed to work without malfunctions through its entire service life, although regular maintenance each fall can keep problems to a minimum. But this winter you may find that the burners in your furnace aren’t lighting when you set the thermostat to demand heat. What’s going on, and do you need to call for furnace repair in Smyrna, DE?

The furnace is turned off

Is this the first time you’ve turned on your furnace for the season? If the burners aren’t coming on, the reason may be that you forgot to turn on the furnace switch. It is usually located next to the furnace. 

The pilot light is out

Newer furnaces no longer use standing pilot lights to ignite the burners, but you may have an older model that does use a pilot light. Check to see if it’s gone out, and if it has, relight it. If it keeps going out, there may be an issue with the gas line or the pilot assembly needs cleaning. Call a professional to look into it.

Broken electric ignition system

Your furnace probably uses an electronic ignition system to light the burners, usually by heating up its surface similar to a lightbulb. These igniters can fail like any other part of the furnace, and if this happens the burners won’t come on. (We also recommend checking the electrical panel to see if the breaker to the furnace has tripped.) It’s easy for our technicians to repair this: we simply have to replace the igniter. 

The burners are dirty

If the burners cannot draw on enough oxygen, they won’t be able to light. A layer of dust, grime, or even rust can cause this to happen. Please don’t attempt to clean the burners yourself; our team can handle this job safely.

Thermostat has lost connection

The issue may be in the thermostat itself, not in the furnace unit. The thermostat’s connection to the igniter may have failed, or it isn’t sensing temperatures correctly and therefore won’t ignite the burners.

Gas line issues

Gas may not be flowing to the burners. If this is the first time you’ve used the furnace in months, you may have forgotten to open the gas valve to the furnace. If the burners still won’t ignite, close the gas valve and call us for assistance. You do not want to tamper with the gas line!

We want to stress that you should never attempt to diagnose the problem with your furnace after you’ve done the basic troubleshooting steps (making sure the furnace switch is on, the gas valve is open, there are no tripped breakers). Working with a gas furnace is potentially dangerous for anyone without proper training, and in some jurisdictions it is illegal. Let us find out what is causing your furnace issues, and then we’ll have it fixed for you.

At Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc. “We Take Pride in Your Comfort!” Call us for 24/7 service.

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