Author: Jesse

Fan center control

Fan center control

Two different fan center controls

Fan center controls generally are found in older standard furnaces. These are added to separate the heating side from the air conditioning side and added while air conditioning is installed. Newer furnaces have everything controlled via the control board.

Older atmospheric furnace fans are controlled by temperature and a temperature-controlled fan won’t work for air conditioning since the fan needs to run as soon as air conditioning is triggered on. continue reading...

Igniter

Igniter

The igniter is what’s going to ignite the gas in the combustion chamber.

Two of the most common igniters are the silicon carbide and silicon nitride.

Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide is among the older of the hot surface igniters. They come in different styles, and most of them run off 120v. They are very fragile and crack easily if not handled carefully. There’s a myth that the oils in your skin will cause damage. It’s not true. continue reading...

Burners

Burners

Inshot Burners

There are many different kinds of burners. We’re mainly going to focus on the inshot type burner as seen above. The inshot burners are in most modern furnaces. A combustion blower is used to pull the flames through the burner tubes into the heat exchanger.

Burners are used to prepare the air:gas mixture for combustion. Gas is shot through one side, and as gas flows through at a relatively high speed, it pulls primary air into the burners with it. The quick flow of gas pulling air in with it is called the venturi effect. continue reading...

Control board

Control board

Furnace control boards can be very intimidating for newer technicians without much experience working with them. They’ll typically have many wires running to/from them, flashy lights, bulky built-in relays, resistors, and capacitors. It all looks very confusing, but it’s really not.

Ignition control boards

Ignition control boards are typical in older systems. They control the gas valve, igniter, flame sensor, and the damper (when used). With a call for heat, the board will start the sparker and light the pilot. When it senses the pilot, it will continue to light the burners. continue reading...

Flame roll-out

Flame roll-out

The side facing outside furnace / the side facing inside of the furnace

Flame rollout switches are mounted around your burners. They exist to sense when/if the flame were ever to pose a risk to the homeowner.

These are usually bimetal switches that warp when heated to break the heat cycle when they sense a flame rollout situation. They’re traditionally manually reset by pressing the button in the middle, although some use a heat-activated fuse which would mean you’d need to replace the whole part if it were ever to sense rollout. continue reading...

High-limit

High-limit

Above images are two of the more common high limits found in residential and lite commercial furnaces

A high-limit switch is a bi-metal snap disc switch that warps when heated to break a heat cycle and used to protect the heat exchanger from overheating and burning out due to insufficient indoor air passing over it. A dirty filter or squirrel cage, undersized ductwork, or many supply air vents closed are among some of the reasons to set this switch off. continue reading...

Thermocouple and thermopile

Thermocouple and thermopile

Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a type of flame safety that prevents the gas valve from dispensing the gas into the burners without the presence of a flame. These are found mostly in older standard pilot appliances including (mostly older) furnaces, water heaters, and unit heaters. A typical thermocouple will produce upwards of about 30 millivolts. To give you an understanding of how small of a voltage that is, 1,000 millivolts is 1 volt. continue reading...

Potential relay

Potential relay

The potential relay is used in all capacitor start/capacitor run motors. They’re also used in capacitor start/induction run motors. However, it’s rare to see that style of a motor in residential and lite commercial in our industry.

The potential relay may also be called a start relay. Without it, the start capacitor could explode or destroy the windings in the motor within seconds. Using a start capacitor with a potential relay is known as a hard start kit. continue reading...

Relay and contactors

Relay and contactors

Relay

We’ll be using the most common type of relay in residential service, a 24v relay. A relay is an electronically operated switch that opens and closes using an electromagnet. The electromagnet is a coil of wire that when powered acts as a magnet to close/open a switch.

The above image has two banks of power for the 24v electromagnet coil seen with each horizontal line. Only one set of terminals needs to be powered. In most cases, you’ll only ever use one set.

Terminal 1 of this relay is the common terminal. It’s “common” to terminal 2 and 3. Terminal 1 will be our terminal that will pass on power to and/or complete the circuit between terminal 2 or 3 when 24v is applied to the electromagnet. continue reading...