Burners Won’t Stay Lit

Burners Won’t Stay Lit

BURNERS DON’T STAY LIT – The furnace burners fire, but go off before the thermostat temperature is satisfied.


Dirty Flame Sensor - Qualified Technician Recommended

  • After a gas furnace opens the gas valve to allow gas into the combustion chamber, the furnace control board will monitor for proper ignition of the gas.  This is accomplished by a flame sensor.  If the flame sensor does not detect a flame within 6 seconds after opening the gas valve, the ignition cycle is terminated.  
  • If the burners visibly ignite, but then go out after approximately 6 seconds, this may indicate a dirty flame sensor. 
  • Multiple failed ignition attempts will typically generate an "Ignition Failure" diagnostic on the ignition control board.
  • A dirty flame sensor will generally cause occasional ignition failures, but may allow the furnace to fire and function properly the majority of the time.


Faulty Ignition Control - Qualified Technician Recommended

  • If the flame sensor is clean but the burners still shut off around 6 seconds after ignition, this may be the result of a faulty ignition control.
  • A common cause of a faulty ignition control which fails to sense flame is water damage.  Look for signs of moisture or water from a clogged condensate drain or leaking vent pipe.


High Limit Trip - Qualified Technician Recommended

  • Gas furnaces are protected against over-temperature by a high-limit switch.  When the high-limit switch trips it will turn-off the burners.  When the heat chamber cools, the limit switch will re-activate and allow the burners to re-fire.
  • High limit trips are generally caused by a lack of airflow across the heat chamber.  Possible causes are a bad blower motor, a clogged air filter, blocked or restricted registers, or under-sized ductwork.
  • A high-limit switch trip caused by no airflow (bad blower) will typically occur within 30-60 seconds after ignition.
  • A high-limit switch trip caused by low airflow may only occur after long run cycles.
  • On most newer gas furnaces with an integrated control board, a limit switch fault will generate a diagnostic code - usually a code 4, but it varies with the board manufacturer.


Pressure Switch Trip - Qualified Technician Recommended

  • Most newer gas furnaces use one or more pressure switches to monitor for proper venting and condensate drainage.  It is not unusual for a partially restricted venting system or a clogged drain to allow a furnace to fire and then shut-off some time during a heating cycle.
  • On most newer gas furnaces with an integrated control board, a pressure switch fault will generate a diagnostic code - usually a code 2 or 3, but it varies with the board manufacturer.


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