Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Problems related to residential installations.

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joezappp
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by joezappp » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:01 am

Thanks for being so thorough, Freon. Since there is no obtainable manual for this furnace, you've really been a big help. I have a feeling that when I'm done, I'll be able to write the manual - )

I can do a really good job cleaning the apparatus if I can remove the pilot tube/gas tube. Otherwise I would just be feeling around for it. I think it's better if I can see what I'm cleaning. I took a couple good pics of the pilot apparatus and the fittings. How do I get them to you? Thanks so much.

Freon
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by Freon » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:33 pm

I don't need a picture but thanks. I'm sure it's like the one I suggested you look at. It should be very self evident what needs to be done. Don't be disappointed if this doesn't stop the problem. It's a big step in the right direction but it may not be the last. If the S86 is located where when the furnace runs it can get rather hot, that S86 may be the real problem. But time will tell. Keep up the good work. Work slowly and carefully. No sense breaking something that isn't broken now.

joezappp
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by joezappp » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:55 am

Thanks, Freon. You had asked in your prior post if I could take any pics of the the connection of the tube to the gas valve. You were guessing "compression fitting". That's the only reason I brought up sending "pics".

On Saturday I spoke with a guy from Canada who has worked extensively with the Heil-Quaker furnaces like mine. It sounds like there are still many operating in Canada. He tells me that 90% of the time there will be a leak upon reconnection of the aluminum tube. Even if that percentage is actually way off, he does also add that if the leak exists, it becomes a bigger job that could be beyond my scope. For this reason, he recommended that I clean what I can without full disassemble, and then go right to changing the S86F and see what happens, since I can handle that easily. He recommends not touching the compression fitting at this juncture.

So I attempted using a wire brush for cleaning to no avail. Couldn't get it in there. I was able to get an emery board on part of the electrode surface. I was able to rub the electrode completely with my fingers, and use my fingernails to get some abrasiveness on it. That's it. Not enough play, and not enough room. I reinstalled the assembly and flicked the switch on. It remains that it sparks only occasionally, and when the pilot comes on it burns out.

It's time to change the S86F. I'm ordering it in the morning. I will update as soon as I've installed it.

Thanks so much...

Joe

Freon
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by Freon » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:05 pm

While you're waiting for the new control board, I suggest you read the installation instructions. I assume your new unit will be a Honeywell S8610U Universal Intermittent Pilot Module. Pay close attention to Table 5, Conversion from Honeywell Intermittent Pilot Modules especially the Transformer Secondary Switched leg as discussed in the Procedural Notes.

joezappp
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by joezappp » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:45 pm

Thanks, Freon. I will pay close attention to that. I'm not sure I would have known to look at that otherwise. I will also be sure to carefully follow the instructions for converting from the "F" model. Thanks, again. I'll be in touch when the module arrives, hopefully to tell you that it's installed and that the furnace is working perfectly!

Joe

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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by joezappp » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:59 pm

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FREON!

I found another S86F online very cheap, so I decided to give it a shot for the simplicity. Simple indeed. As soon as I removed the old module, I could hear a distinct rattle inside that wasn't present with the replacement module. I felt that was a sign that my issue was about to end.

Flicked the switch, CLEARLY heard a spark, and the furnace has been purring like a kitten for the past 5 hours. Non-stop. It had a lot of work to do! The old module was likely struggling for many years. I never heard the sparking like I do now. Only a "buzz", and often a varying buzz. It was SHOT.

I realize that the replacement is used, and likely very old, but it seems to be in excellent shape. I am going to purchase a backup to store for future use, this way I may not have to be without central heating when it's single digits outside again!

I greatly appreciate your time and patience educating me about all this. You taught me so much. When this all started, I knew NOTHING about this furnace except how to change the filter. You really know your stuff and taught me well. A million thanks!

Before we sign off, I want to ask about the burners/heat exchanger. The furnace is 32 years old. That doesn't scare me, quite honestly. My water heater is 28 years old. Most people would be about to buy their 4th! When it goes, it goes. But I know that there is a safety concern with the burners/heat exchanger on old furnaces. While I had everything opened up, I decided to examine. I see no cracks at all. There's plenty of rust, of course. Will I get some kind of warning of a crack/unsafe condition? Maybe an odor or something?

Thanks SO much...

Joe

Freon
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by Freon » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:22 am

There is no simple answer for heat exchangers. Some older furnaces were built like tanks and the heat exchanger may outlast the house. Others were shoddy construction. One way to see a crack is to observe the flame pattern just as the main blower starts circulation air in the house. If there is a crack you may notice the flame pattern change due to air blowing thru the crack into the combustion chamber. Another way would be to have a tech come and inspect it. Some have cameras on flexible tubing and can see into all nooks and crannies. If he/she says there's a crack make sure they show you.

There should be a clean-out on the heat exchanger. That's a servicing you want to do since rust particles will settle to the bottom of the heat exchanger tubes and restrict air flow lowering efficiency. Be careful removing the clean-out cover because usually the nuts are also rusty. I'd wait until after this heating season. Try and get a good diagram of the furnace for reference.

If there is a crack in the heat exchanger the positive air pressure from the main blower will keep any CO from getting into the house. If the burners are working properly and you have a nice blue flame, no yellow, you're probably close to 100% combustion with little CO. Again a tech can quickly measure the CO in your stack. A home CO detector placed close to a supple register is an inexpensive way to be safe.

joezappp
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- Furnace only "clicks", won't start

Post by joezappp » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:59 am

As always, Freon, wonderfully thorough. Excellent advice and tips that I will surely heed.

I don't know that I can get a diagram of my furnace. The manufacturer doesn't have it, and there is little info on my furnace on the internet. I would actually love to have the whole manual, but I'll take whatever I can get. Would you have any leads for me? The Model is a 1983 Whirlpool made by Heil-Quaker Model # NUGI075AF01. Thanks so much...

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