Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling

How a furnace operates and what you can do to troubleshoot.

On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed through the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).


Many newer furnaces have a diagnostic light viewed through a small window in either the top panel or bottom panel. If you remove a panel to see it, you may erase the code. If that happens, tape down the door safety switch and cycle the furnace with the panel off until the code appears again. Find the wiring diagram that is glued on one of the panels. There will be a diagnostic or error code chart that will give you a starting point where to look based upon the number of blinks the circuit board flashes.

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1 Answer

Burners not burning, pilot light is off. How do I start the pilot light?


There is no pilot on this unit. It is electronic ignition.

On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed thru the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).

Mar 29, 2010 | Carrier XHB123D X/Y Series Heat/Cool Air...

1 Answer

80% ducane furnace makes several attempts to ignite then shuts down. glow stick lights but no ignition to main burners. any ideas?


On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed thru the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).

Check for 24 volts across the gas valve terminals!

Mar 04, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

HEATER IS NOT HEATING. WE REPLACE THE THERMOSTAT AND THE PILOT IS ON FAN WORK. ITS JUST NOT HEATING!


Not much to go on without a make and model number but:
On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed thru the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).

Jan 16, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

red light blinking continuosly meanig gas valve relay short how can I fix myself - furnance only blows cold air


You will need to check for 24 volts AC to the gas valve after the igniter starts sparking or glowing. If you have it but it does not open, bad gas valve and you will need to replace it. If you are not getting 24 volts after it starts glowing or sparking, you have a bad board.

On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed thru the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).

Jan 16, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Furnace not kicking on when thermostat calls for heat


On a call for heat, the 24 volt thermostat sends a signal to the control module. The control module will indicate a call for heat with a light on the control either blinking or remain solid depending upon model. The inducer (exhaust) blower will purge all gasses from the furnace and pressurize a pressure switch. Once the pressure switch tells the module to continue, the electronic ignition will energize and send 120 volts to the igniter. The igniter will glow and you will be able to see it if viewed thru the small inspection port. Once the igniter gets hot enough, it sends a signal to the module opening up the gas valve (24 volts). Either a pilot will come on or the burner tube will ignite then spread the flame to all burners. Lastly a safety sensor will be looking for a certain temperature within a few seconds and the furnace will continue to operate and the room air blower will turn on in a minute or two.

What could go wrong? The unit will not run if there is no signal from the thermostat (bad thermostat or broken wire), the control module does not sense a signal from the thermostat (bad control), the inducer does not energize (bad motor), the pressure switch does not close (blocked vent piping, bad switch, plugged condensate hose), the igniter does not energize (bad control, bad igniter), the gas valve does not open or there is no gas (bad gas valve, broken wire, no gas), the pilot does not light (dirty pilot), the burner does not light (bad burner, plugged orifice, not enough combustion air), the flame does not spread to each burner (bad flame spreader, dirty flame spreader, more bad burners), the flame safety sensor does not detect flame (dirty or bad flame spreader, bad flame sensor, broken wire, bad control), or the room air blower does not energize (bad fan motor, bad control).

Jan 10, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

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