Lighting a Pilot that is Electronic Ignition

Lighting a Pilot that is Electronic Ignition – This is one of many questions we get by email.

Lighting a Pilot that is Electronic Ignition Comment: Thank you for your interesting discussion of pilot lights vs. electronic ignition. I may have to replace my gas water heater soon and am weighing the options. Although I understand that electronic ignition is more efficient, I worry about not having hot water during a power outage. A number of years ago we had an ice storm and the power was out for almost a week. My gas water heater still worked as did my gas stove, and that really made a big difference when the temperature inside the house was in the 30’s. Is there any way to light a water heater with electronic ignition by hand or is it completely dependent on electricity? Thanks for any information you can provide. (more…)

Gas Manifolds | Furnace Components

Gas Manifolds – The furnace gas manifold connects the valve with the main burners and it is important that the proper pressure be present inside the manifold for proper combustion. Manifold pressure is different from natural gas to liquid propane and this pressure needs to be set with a special instrument which the HVAC installer or HVAC start-up technician should have. The manifold pressure should be set according to the furnace manufacturer’s instructions and is done by an adjustment on the regulator and valve as noted in the valve section (see gas furnace components). The setting will depend on the type of fuel, natural gas or LP, and the manufacturers instructions.


How to Test a Thermocouple with a Multi-Meter

What you will learn from How to Test a Thermocouple with a Multi-Meter article:


  1. How not to guess if the thermocouple is bad
  2. Step by step procedure for testing a thermocouple with a multimeter
  3. What reading you should get if the thermocouple is good
  4. Lots of resource and related links to help you learn more

How to Test a Thermocouple with a Multi-Meter? So you have found the pilot light will not stay lit when you try to light the pilot light. You know you have gas and everything seems to be fine so what is the problem?

Trane Gas Furnace Efficiency Factors & Fuel Purity

Trane Gas Furnace Efficiency FactorsTrane Gas Furnace Efficiency Factors – This is a Trane gas furnace. It is also called a Trane 90 plus gas furnace because it offers efficiency levels up to 90 percent plus AFUE (rating). Gas or oil furnaces generally cannot achieve efficiency at 100% because of impurities in the fuel including moisture. This is the reason why no fossil fuel furnace sold has a rating of up to 100%. This biggest impurity in many fuels is moisture which is difficult to remove because it is in the distribution and storage places where the fuel is distributed and stored. If these impurities were removed from the fuels before they were introduced to the furnace the cost of the fuel would be much higher and the cost to benefit ratio would not be effective. (more…)

How to Test a Thermocouple for a Water Heater

How to Test a Thermocouple for a Water Heater – Everyone who has owned a gas heater including furnaces or water heaters will know that from to time you have to light the pilot light unless you have electronic ignition that automatically lights the pilot light.

Sometimes when you try to light the pilot it does not want to stay lit and you know you have a problem. Often times the problem turns out to be a bad thermocouple that needs to be replaced. But how do you know if the thermocouple is bad and the problem isn’t something else?

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter

Honeywell CQ100A1013 24-Inch Replacement Thermocouple for Gas Furnaces, Boilers and Water Heaters


2-Stage Gas Furnaces – Tips for Buyers | HVAC Consumer Advice

2-Stage Gas Furnaces - Tips for Buyers - How a Gas Furnaces Works2-Stage Gas Furnaces – Tips for Buyers – Two-stage gas furnaces make up over 30% of all gas furnaces installed in residences in the USA. These furnaces are rated from 80% AFUE all the way up to 95% AFUE and are more efficient than single-stage gas furnaces. When purchasing furnaces always check the ARI website for and efficiency comparisons. The 2-stage gas furnace runs at two different levels. A low fire and a high fire rate where the low fire runs at low demand and the high fire rate runs when there is a bigger demand. Of course high fire or the second stage is 100% and usually only kicks in when the temperatures are really cold outside. When the temperatures are milder outside the furnace runs at low fire and therefore uses less gas and in theory less electricity. (more…)

Modulating Furnaces – Options Features & Advice for the Consumer

Gas Furnace is Making Too Much Noise – The FixModulating Furnaces – Gas furnace manufacturers have for many years been working on modulating furnaces to make furnaces more efficient. Before modulating furnaces the highest rated (in efficiency) were two-stage gas furnaces. Then came the modulating furnaces and efficiency ranges started increasing to 98% and fractionally more than 98% for some modulating gas furnaces. Always check the ARI website for certified efficiency of any HVAC product you purchase What makes this furnace different than the other types of gas furnaces you can purchase? (more…)

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger Failure | Heating and Cooling

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger Failure - Dangerous Cracked Heat Exchangers in Furnaces

You can see the rust holes up near the sheet metal plates in this heat exchanger that made the occupants sick

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger Failure – Richard, a technician just departed my house after looking at my gas furnace. My mom thought she smelled something so we called the furnace company we usually call when we need furnace maintenance to check it out.  He told us our heat exchanger in our furnace failed. I asked him how much it would cost to fix and he told me his service manager would call me with a price. I just got off the phone with the service manager and he said the furnace is still under warranty but we would have to pay for labor. The new heat exchanger is covered under the warranty. He said the labor cost would be $850.00 to replace the heat exchanger. The furnace is over 7 years old and the heat exchanger has failed? Isn’t this a major component of the furnace and if it failed in 7 years won’t the new replacement heat exchanger have this issue in another 7 years? What is supposed to be the life span of a furnace? If so isn’t it a better decision to just replace the furnace altogether? And why would I want to buy this brand again if it failed so soon? We are cold right now but going to get some portable electric heaters. We need to make a decision soon. Thank you and I look forward to your answers. Jenna (more…)

How a Gas Furnace Works

How a Gas Furnace Works – Richard, Can you please explain to me in basic terms how a gas furnace works? I have a standing pilot gas furnace if that helps you better.
How a Gas Furnace Works
This question is closely related to my article on the Gas Furnace Sequence of Operation but each different type of gas furnace works differently. Therefore the sequence of operation or how the gas furnace works will work differently from gas furnace type to gas furnace type. Since you have a standing pilot gas furnace it, of course will work different than other types of gas furnaces. (more…)

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