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Do flame rods ever wear out or need to be replaced or just keep cleaning them every year. I have heard to replace them but can not see why.
 

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If you cleaned i t with sand paper. it will need replaced in a year or 2.

If you clean them with steel wool, or those 3M pads. With the exception of the insulator breaking. They last for ever.

Its just a piece of metal. But its very very smooth. Scratching it allows them to get dirty faster, and can make them pit and corrode.
 

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If you cleaned i t with sand paper. it will need replaced in a year or 2.

If you clean them with steel wool, or those 3M pads. With the exception of the insulator breaking. They last for ever.

Its just a piece of metal. But its very very smooth. Scratching it allows them to get dirty faster, and can make them pit and corrode.
All the techs at the company I work for clean them with sand cloth, and we never have to replace them.
 

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All the techs at the company I work for clean them with sand cloth, and we never have to replace them.
Skip cleaning those flame rods that were cleaned with sand paper on ever PM for a year or 2. And you'll have a no heat call even if your using outside air for combustion. Because you have scratched the smooth surface area.

Clean them with steel wool or 3M pad. And if it has outside combustion air. You won't have a no heat call because of a dirty flame rod for several years if you skip cleaning it on PMs.
 

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Skip cleaning those flame rods that were cleaned with sand paper on ever PM for a year or 2. And you'll have a no heat call even if your using outside air for combustion. Because you have scratched the smooth surface area.

Well, why would I skip cleaning a flame sensor on a PM! And if what you say is true, then why do many systems that are 1 1/2 - 2 years old start tripping on the flame sensor, when they have never been cleaned with either. The flame sensor needs cleaned once a year regardless, along with the other maintenance. I don't buy the idea that, using a material that may "scratch" it a little less, amounts to any benefit or increased life.
 

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Skip cleaning those flame rods that were cleaned with sand paper on ever PM for a year or 2. And you'll have a no heat call even if your using outside air for combustion. Because you have scratched the smooth surface area.
Well, why would I skip cleaning a flame sensor on a PM! And if what you say is true, then why do many systems that are 1 1/2 - 2 years old start tripping on the flame sensor, when they have never been cleaned with either. The flame sensor needs cleaned once a year regardless, along with the other maintenance. I don't buy the idea that, using a material that may "scratch" it a little less, amounts to any benefit or increased life.
I have lots that don't get a PM every year. And go 7 years before the sensor needs cleaned.

If you have ones that from factory need cleaned after a 1½. You have some other trouble also. Poor combustion air.


The idea, is NOT to scratch it at all.
 

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Skip cleaning those flame rods that were cleaned with sand paper on ever PM for a year or 2. And you'll have a no heat call even if your using outside air for combustion. Because you have scratched the smooth surface area.

Well, why would I skip cleaning a flame sensor on a PM! And if what you say is true, then why do many systems that are 1 1/2 - 2 years old start tripping on the flame sensor, when they have never been cleaned with either. The flame sensor needs cleaned once a year regardless, along with the other maintenance. I don't buy the idea that, using a material that may "scratch" it a little less, amounts to any benefit or increased life.
I have lots that don't get a PM every year. And go 7 years before the sensor needs cleaned.

If you have ones that from factory need cleaned after a 1½. You have some other trouble also. Poor combustion air.


The idea, is NOT to scratch it at all.
No, regular 80% furnaces, with correct gas pressure, proper venting and nothing unusual in the air. Every 7 years, I guess business is a little slower at that rate, but anyways I guess we will just agree to dis-agree. Why would you not urge your customer's to have the maintenance done annually? I guess I don't feel that I owe the customer 7 years without needing that flame sensor cleaned, since the furnace needs serviced annually anyway.
 

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No, regular 80% furnaces, with correct gas pressure, proper venting and nothing unusual in the air. Every 7 years, I guess business is a little slower at that rate, but anyways I guess we will just agree to dis-agree. Why would you not urge your customer's to have the maintenance done annually? I guess I don't feel that I owe the customer 7 years without needing that flame sensor cleaned, since the furnace needs serviced annually anyway.
Even 80%ers should go more then a 2 years without needing cleaning. Unless it has poor combustion air. Which is quite common with 80%ers. Indoor air is heavily polluted.

If you know a way to make customers pay for a yearly PM when they don't want it. Tell me, and I'll convert them all over to PM's.

So you don't service any furnaces that you don't do a PM on?
Kinda of limits your customer base.
 

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So you don't service any furnaces that you don't do a PM on?
Kinda of limits your customer base.
Yes we service lots of them, Most of them are in lock-out due to dirty flame sensor. We clean the flame sensor on every furnace, no matter what other type of repair it may need, if any. Customers end up a getting maintenance one way or another, one way is cheaper than the other however. And Im not saying indoor air isn't polluted, but it wouldn't make the air any cleaner, by cleaning the flame sensor differently.
 

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Yes we service lots of them, Most of them are in lock-out due to dirty flame sensor. We clean the flame sensor on every furnace, no matter what other type of repair it may need, if any. Customers end up a getting maintenance one way or another, one way is cheaper than the other however.
I get a lot of calls in the boonies. They don't want their furnaces service annually.
So the only time they see anything remotely close to a PM. Is when they stop working.

Find bad HSI. Replace it. Check everything else out including cleaning the flame sensor. And it won;t be until the thing looses another HSI or the blower goes out that they will have someone out. Which may be 3 to 7 more years on most of them.

Finished basements and furnace rooms with the washer and dryer in them are the worse areas for flame sensors.
They need the flame sensors to be cleaned every year, to every other. Due to chemicals.
 

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i agree all units i work on doesnt matter what the call. from a boiler,to a furnace,to tankless hot water heaters. i clean all mine with sand cloth, i do service work and have for a almost 5 years i have cut down on my O.T calls (over time call) just cause really do u wanna go out 2 am t gramma's...every damn time i get suckered into tea. your flame sensors will get dirty over time, i actually got to talk to couple eng, couple reason why...burning of the natural gas, air quality (bleach caps open)also was told that there was alot of lime and salt in the concrete that is being used and insulates the flame rod. just clean them at the start of your fall startup and you wont get 109plus gst diagnostic call.
 

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What?

Well I don't know about all that. The reason the flame rod has to be cleaned is to clear the chemical used in gas to give it that rotten egg smell. This is an electrical connection from the gas. You should always clean a sensor with scotch brite or other fine cloth that doesn't use a glue to adhere the abrasive material. Always clean up and down only. If you have to replace the sensor you have a different problem. It could be the board not seeing the connection. Or the lead wire may have been replaced with the wrong gauge or the wire too long causing a amperage drop. It is measured in microamps and has nothing to do with scratches. I have used coat hangers as temporary fixes. It's an electrical connection people. It must be adjusted to hit the flame in the right portion of the flame or you will have call backs! What the heck does combustion air have to do with it?
 

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Scratches

I will say that deep scratches will allow the chemical deep into the large scratches and hold the chemical even if you do clean it again. But you should not be using sandpaper any way as the glue will cause problems.
 

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I will say that deep scratches will allow the chemical deep into the large scratches and hold the chemical even if you do clean it again. But you should not be using sandpaper any way as the glue will cause problems.
well like I said, we use sand CLOTH, not sand PAPER
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I don't know about all that. The reason the flame rod has to be cleaned is to clear the chemical used in gas to give it that rotten egg smell. This is an electrical connection from the gas. You should always clean a sensor with scotch brite or other fine cloth that doesn't use a glue to adhere the abrasive material. Always clean up and down only. If you have to replace the sensor you have a different problem. It could be the board not seeing the connection. Or the lead wire may have been replaced with the wrong gauge or the wire too long causing a amperage drop. It is measured in microamps and has nothing to do with scratches. I have used coat hangers as temporary fixes. It's an electrical connection people. It must be adjusted to hit the flame in the right portion of the flame or you will have call backs! What the heck does combustion air have to do with it?
Fresh combustion air has to do with all the chemicals in homes these days like laundry detergant, paints stored in the basement etc. They can act similer to the coating nat gas can do.
 

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I say you clean em once and then replace them. It's not like they cost a million dollars. An old timer told me once not to use sanding cloth only scotchbrite because cloth puts a coting of silica on them that acts like an insulator.
 

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i used to use sand cloth for the longest time but stopped because i've heard the argument of scratching the smooth metal and giving any type of debris (usually ash from burning dust) a place to grab onto. since then i've used a damp rag and haven't had any issues with poor flame signal. now if the porcelain is cracked then i'll replace it.
 
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