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Safety Mechanisms on Furnaces

Gas-powered furnaces once had a reputation as potentially dangerous installations because of the threat of carbon monoxide leaks and explosions. However, contemporary natural gas furnaces are much safer than older models, and as long as you make certain that your home’s furnace receives regular maintenance check-ups and prompt repair work, you shouldn’t expect to encounter serious dangers from it. Always leave repair work to HVAC professionals who are experienced with how the different models of furnaces operate. You can count on the NATE-certified technicians at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to help you whenever you require repairs or maintenance for your furnace in Avon, OH.

Today’s furnaces have a number of safety mechanisms, which differ from model to model. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Thermocouple: Standing pilot lights are only used now on water heaters, but if you still have an older furnace with a standing pilot, its main safety device is a component called a thermocouple. This pair of metallic strips detects the heat from the pilot light and sends a current to keep open the gas valve to the burners as long as it stays lit. Should the pilot light go out, the thermocouple closes the valve, preventing unburned combustion gas from flooding the chamber.
  • Electric flame sensor: Since standing pilot lights are now rare, electric flame sensors are used to determine if a heat source exists to burn the gas when it enters the burner. Computerized controls only ignite the gas when necessary, making newer furnaces far safer than older units.
  • Limit switch: The limit switch is located on the plenum inside the furnace and detects when the furnace’s temperature rises too high. When the temperature exceeds the limit switch’s upper level, it shuts off the gas and turns on a blower fan to reduce the temperature. When the temperature drops down to safe levels again, the limit switch permits the burner to come back on.
  • Solid state circuitry: Should the temperature in a furnace continue to rise due to constant overheating, the circuitry will shut off the entire system.

Modern furnaces have more safety controls then ever: some may have four different mechanisms. Although this makes furnaces safer, it also makes it even more important that you only allow experienced professionals to handle any repairs for the system. Technicians must be familiar with all the different controls in a furnace so they can determine why the furnace malfunctioned, and later restore the safety mechanisms to working order.

At Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, our heating repair and maintenance technicians are experienced and certified to see that you receive the best care possible for your furnace in Avon, OH. To keep your home warm and safe, rely on our services. Give us a call today.

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