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What does it mean to check the flue for blockage?

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A flue is the chimney, exhaust tube, or other conduit provided for the products of combustion to pass through safely from the combustion chamber to other space - ideally outside.

In a fireplace, an obstruction could be the damper. In other heating sources that use combustion for a heat source, the flue may become a home for animals during the periods when it is not used (warmer months) as they can provide shelter. The animals themselves or their nest can block or obstruct the flue resulting in poor combustion and / or exhaust gases (smoke) backing up - and filling the heated space with carbon monoxide, smoke, etc.

I hope this helps!

Posted on Mar 21, 2011

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My gas wall heater only stay lit for about 5mins. Easy to restart.


First thing to try is to check the flue to see if it is blocked or even partially blocked. This type of flue assembly exhausts burnt gases from the heater and another section draws fresh air in to the heater to be mixed and burnt with the gas.
the centre of the flue is the exhaust section and the outer section of the flue is the fresh air intake section.
removing the flue cowl will allow a visual inspection of the flue for any blockages.
If the flue is a long run then a plumber may need to be called to disassemble the flue for a closer inspection.

Feb 15, 2015 | Rinnai RHFE-1004FA 38,400 BTU Energy Saver...

1 Answer

The top red light flashes and then after a while it turns off and both lights flash red with temp 14 flashing also


Hi Karen,

If my description of what your heater is doing please read through to the end.

The heater is turned on and a room temperature is selected.
You can hear the noise of a small fan start, which shortly after the heater starts.
After a short period of time the heater stops and the red led begins to flash and shuts itself down.

This type of heater has a balanced flue, which means it draws air in one pipe and exhausts it out another.
Have the balanced flue checked for blockages, the problem will most likely be in the flue pipe which draws the outside cool air into the heater and not the flue pipe which blows out the hot air.
it may be full of cob webs or something else which restricts the air flow to the heater.
A service person can perform a quick test to prove the above theory. At the rear of the heater there are two pipes, one is an insulated metal pipe and the other is plastic pipe.
Disconnect the plastic pipe from the flue box and restart the heater.
If the heater runs normally this will confirm that there is a blockage.

Jun 08, 2014 | Rinnai RHFE-1004FA 38,400 BTU Energy Saver...

1 Answer

Rinnai energysaver 556 blinking


Hi jmsocr2315,

If my description of what your heater is doing please read through to the end.

The heater is turned on and a room temperature is selected.
You can hear the noise of a small fan start, which shortly after the heater starts.
After a short period of time the heater stops and the red led begins to flash and shuts itself down.

This type of heater has a balanced flue, which means it draws air in one pipe and exhausts it out another.
Have the balanced flue checked for blockages, the problem will most likely be in the flue pipe which draws the outside cool air into the heater and not the flue pipe which blows out the hot air.
it may be full of cob webs or something else which restricts the air flow to the heater.
A service person can perform a quick test to prove the above theory. At the rear of the heater there are two pipes, one is an insulated metal pipe and the other is plastic pipe.
Disconnect the plastic pipe from the flue box and restart the heater.
If the heater runs normally this will confirm that there is a blockage.

Feb 05, 2014 | Rinnai EnergySaver 556 Air Conditioner

1 Answer

Light where flashing and heat was off


Hi cobbsski,

If my description of what your heater is doing please read through to the end.

The heater is turned on and a room temperature is selected.
You can hear the noise of a small fan start, which shortly after the heater starts.
After a short period of time the heater stops and the red led begins to flash and shuts itself down.

This type of heater has a balanced flue, which means it draws air in one pipe and exhausts it out another.
Have the balanced flue checked for blockages, the problem will most likely be in the flue pipe which draws the outside cool air into the heater and not the flue pipe which blows out the hot air.
it may be full of cob webs or something else which restricts the air flow to the heater.
A service person can perform a quick test to prove the above theory. At the rear of the heater there are two pipes, one is an insulated metal pipe and the other is plastic pipe.
Disconnect the plastic pipe from the flue box and restart the heater.
If the heater runs normally this will confirm that there is a blockage.

Jan 04, 2012 | Rinnai EnergySaver 556 Air Conditioner

1 Answer

I have goodman GMP series furance the furnance and gas comes on and fires up then goes out flame sensor is good what else could be wrong


Improper ground from control to burner.
Incorrect electrical wiring, check polarity.
Tubing partially clogged between inducer and proving switch.

A sampling of various failure codes on a furnace:

Read one LED flash that stays on continuously to mean your furnace has no signal coming from the thermostat and will not operate. Turn the power off and check the thermostat for improper settings or connections.

Interpret one LED flash that blinks on and off to mean your furnace has locked out because it could not ignite after three tries, and must be reset. Interrupt power to your furnace for 20 seconds or lower the thermostat so your furnace does not try to heat, then reset the thermostat to the previous setting. After one hour of lockout, your furnace will automatically reset itself and try to operate as usual.

Decipher two LED flashes to mean the draft blower is not working, or your furnace has a short in the pressure switch circuit. Turn off the furnace power and repair a short or replace the pressure switch.


Read three LED flashes to mean your furnace has an open pressure switch circuit or it has an induced draft blower operating. Check the pressure switch hose of your furnace for blocks or an improper connection. Also, look for blockages in the flue, and tighten any loose wiring.

Translate four LED flashes to mean your furnace has a primary limit circuit open, possibly from loose wiring or blocked filters. Check and clean filters, tighten wiring and check the flue for blockages.

Interpret five LED flashes to mean your furnace senses a flame without a call for heat. This could be from a gas valve closing slowly or a burner flame lingering.



Read seven LED flashes as a warning of a low flame sense microamp signal. This could happen with a coated flame sensor or a lazy flame from poor gas pressure. Turn off the power and adjust the gas pressure according to the information on the rating plate.



See eight LED flashes as meaning an igniter circuit problem due to a bad igniter or an igniter connected improperly. Replace the bad igniter or check the ground wiring, making necessary corrections.



Decipher nine LED flashes to mean the high-stage pressure switch circuit will not close during a high-stage-induced draft blower operation. Your furnace may have a pinched or blocked pressure switch hose, a blocked flue or loose wiring.

Read continuous flashing on the LED to mean your furnace has a reversed polarity of 115 volts. Turn off the power and correct the wiring polarity after reviewing the wiring diagram.

Oct 18, 2011 | Goodman GMS90703BXA Heater

1 Answer

Goodman furnace not heating. Trouble light has 4 blinks


Translate four LED flashes to mean your furnace has a primary limit circuit open, possibly from loose wiring or blocked filters. Check and clean filters, tighten wiring and check the flue for blockages.

What the heck does that mean? In layman terms you have a safety tripped due to some sort of air restriction. Check your smoke stack for blockages. Clean your burners of rust and blow em out. Their are a bunch of these baby's around the heater. Kill the power to the heater before resetting each one or you will be it. Been there and done that.
could be up to 5 or more of these in your unit so hunt em down and make sure they are all reset and have continuity. Then clean it up. themobilian_1327.jpg

themobilian_1328.jpg

Feb 05, 2011 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Suddenly not working im not sure if there even is a pilot to be lit


Goodman have troubleshooting idiot lights on the board. Look for flashes and count em.
The flash explanations are printed on the backside of the blower cover on most models.
A sampling of various failure codes on a furnace:

Read one LED flash that stays on continuously to mean your furnace has no signal coming from the thermostat and will not operate. Turn the power off and check the thermostat for improper settings or connections.

Interpret one LED flash that blinks on and off to mean your furnace has locked out because it could not ignite after three tries, and must be reset. Interrupt power to your furnace for 20 seconds or lower the thermostat so your furnace does not try to heat, then reset the thermostat to the previous setting. After one hour of lockout, your furnace will automatically reset itself and try to operate as usual.

Decipher two LED flashes to mean the draft blower is not working, or your furnace has a short in the pressure switch circuit. Turn off the furnace power and repair a short or replace the pressure switch.


Read three LED flashes to mean your furnace has an open pressure switch circuit or it has an induced draft blower operating. Check the pressure switch hose of your furnace for blocks or an improper connection. Also, look for blockages in the flue, and tighten any loose wiring.

Translate four LED flashes to mean your furnace has a primary limit circuit open, possibly from loose wiring or blocked filters. Check and clean filters, tighten wiring and check the flue for blockages.

Interpret five LED flashes to mean your furnace senses a flame without a call for heat. This could be from a gas valve closing slowly or a burner flame lingering.



Read seven LED flashes as a warning of a low flame sense microamp signal. This could happen with a coated flame sensor or a lazy flame from poor gas pressure. Turn off the power and adjust the gas pressure according to the information on the rating plate.



See eight LED flashes as meaning an igniter circuit problem due to a bad igniter or an igniter connected improperly. Replace the bad igniter or check the ground wiring, making necessary corrections.



Decipher nine LED flashes to mean the high-stage pressure switch circuit will not close during a high-stage-induced draft blower operation. Your furnace may have a pinched or blocked pressure switch hose, a blocked flue or loose wiring.

Read continuous flashing on the LED to mean your furnace has a reversed polarity of 115 volts. Turn off the power and correct the wiring polarity after reviewing the wiring diagram.

Feb 03, 2011 | Goodman Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

My central heating is on lockout and the burner is with red light


A sampling of various codes on a furnace

Read one LED flash that stays on continuously to mean your furnace has no signal coming from the thermostat and will not operate. Turn the power off and check the thermostat for improper settings or connections.

Interpret one LED flash that blinks on and off to mean your furnace has locked out because it could not ignite after three tries, and must be reset. Interrupt power to your furnace for 20 seconds or lower the thermostat so your furnace does not try to heat, then reset the thermostat to the previous setting. After one hour of lockout, your furnace will automatically reset itself and try to operate as usual.

Decipher two LED flashes to mean the draft blower is not working, or your furnace has a short in the pressure switch circuit. Turn off the furnace power and repair a short or replace the pressure switch.


Read three LED flashes to mean your furnace has an open pressure switch circuit or it has an induced draft blower operating. Check the pressure switch hose of your furnace for blocks or an improper connection. Also, look for blockages in the flue, and tighten any loose wiring.

Translate four LED flashes to mean your furnace has a primary limit circuit open, possibly from loose wiring or blocked filters. Check and clean filters, tighten wiring and check the flue for blockages.

Interpret five LED flashes to mean your Goodman furnace senses a flame without a call for heat. This could be from a gas valve closing slowly or a burner flame lingering.



Read seven LED flashes as a warning of a low flame sense microamp signal. This could happen with a coated flame sensor or a lazy flame from poor gas pressure. Turn off the power and adjust the gas pressure according to the information on the rating plate.



See eight LED flashes as meaning an igniter circuit problem due to a bad igniter or an igniter connected improperly. Replace the bad igniter or check the ground wiring, making necessary corrections.



Decipher nine LED flashes to mean the high-stage pressure switch circuit will not close during a high-stage-induced draft blower operation. Your furnace may have a pinched or blocked pressure switch hose, a blocked flue or loose wiring.

Read continuous flashing on the LED to mean your furnace has a reversed polarity of 115 volts. Turn off the power and correct the wiring polarity after reviewing the wiring diagram.

Dec 02, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Heater fires up and runs for a few seconds and shuts off think the heat exchanger is filthy would that cause it.


There are several things that can cause this:

Check for blockage in the flue pipe or improper flue design resulting in inadequate venting.
One way to quickly determine a venting issue is to visually observe the flame on the burn tray. It should NOT be yellow and should burn evenly across the burner. There should NOT be any areas of the burner that appear to burned or deteriorated. Look for evidence of leaks,

You may need to dismantle the top section of the heater to visually inspect for sooting.
You may need to inspect the flame sensor mechanism (if applicable) for dirt or sooting.

If it is determined that your exchanger is sooted up, you have a blockage in the flue pipe or improperly designed flue.

Nov 28, 2010 | Teledyne Laars HEAT EXCHANGER ASSEMBLY,...

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