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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4

    Carbon monoxide sensor went off and now furnace won't turn on

    I’ve got a 20 year old Westinghouse furnace. I don’t see a model number on it. It has been upgraded at some point with an automatic ignitor. I replaced the belt on it yesterday. I left the front panel off to make sure the belt was fine when the furnace was running. Stupidly, I left the cover off as I went to make dinner. After 20 minutes or so our CO sensor went off. This sensor is not the battery powered type; it is on one of the household circuits. I immediately turned off the furnace and put the cover back on. It was at this point I saw the “Do not operate furnace without this cover in place” sticker. Dumb. Anyway, after having the windows and doors open for 45 minutes or so, I attempted to restart the furnace. The ignitor is clicking but the furnace will not actually ‘kick’ on. I have absolutely no experience working on furnaces and really don’t now exactly how they operate but I’m guessing that when the CO alarm went off it somehow disabled the furnace. I’ve looked for a reset button on the furnace but can’t find one. I turned the breaker on/off and have unplugged the furnace for an extended period but these things didn’t work either.

    What am I missing here? Any advice is much appreciated as it is getting pretty cold here!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    39

    Help

    Please read the DIY rules.

    I would be surprised if your CO detector is actually connected to the furnace. I would also guess that if there is enough CO to set the the detector off, a few minutes of fresh air may not be enough to clear it out without a fan.

    If your CO detector has gone off, and the furnace will not light, it is VERY possible that you have a DANGEROUS condition in your house. You may not want to be inside.

    Sounds like time to call a professional.

    Another Homeowner
    The Earl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,613
    If you have a Westinghorse, it's way more than 20 years old!

    And I agree, if I had a CO detector go off and had a relic furnace, I'd want a pro to check things out before I used it again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    You left the blower door off...when the furnace lit and the blower came on, it probably sucked either flue gas, flames, or both out of the burner compartment, which released products of combustion into the air adjacent to the CO detector, setting it off.

    You're lucky it was just the CO detector going off, and not a smoke detector as well!

    A furnace that old should be professionally examined for safety.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,765
    westinghouse with a belt drive is probably at least 35-40 yrs old.


    best to call for service.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4
    The house is 22 years old so I figured that is most likely the age of the furnace as well. Hmm.

    I've had the furnace professionally checked in the past year and it was fine. The problem now is that I dumbly left the front cover off while the furnace was running. I shut the furnace off just as soon as the CO sensor went off. The furnace will still not come on. It worked fine prior to this event. I had just replaced the belt as the old one had apparently stretched and was making a little noise. I put on a new belt and the noise went away. The furnace is elevated above the air intake space. I'm wondering now if there is CO in that space that is preventing the furnace from operating. I've got a fan going right now, with all the doors and windows open, to clear it out. Is this even a probable reason why this thing wouldn't be working?

    I've called a number of heating places here in town and I've got a couple day wait just to have someone come out and I'd like to get this working sooner than that. It has been below zero a couple times this week and was only 13 this morning.

    Thanks again

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    bowie md
    Posts
    116
    Do Not Attempt To Use System Until A Pro Looks At!!!!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4
    I will be having a professional look at it. Most of you state that the furnace because of it's age needs to be looked at by a pro. I had it checked within the past year and it was fine. Do you think something in the furnace was damaged by me leaving the front cover off and now is unsafe to use? I don't know enough about furnaces to know if what I did has made the furnace unsafe to use even if it would turn on.

    thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    Quote Originally Posted by jcro View Post
    Do you think something in the furnace was damaged by me leaving the front cover off and now is unsafe to use?
    Yes. Can't see it from here, but I think it's a sure call.

    I don't know enough about furnaces to know if what I did has made the furnace unsafe to use even if it would turn on.
    You could give no better reason than that for leaving it alone. Rules prohibit DIY repair instruction here, and with reason.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4
    Thanks. I wasn't sure what you all were getting at but I understand now. I'll leave it alone and wait for someone to come check it out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,765
    furnace that old may have just had a pilot relighter put on and not a true electronic ignition. are there any lighting instructions on the furnace???


    we sold westinghouse in the 70's until they went out of business.

    don't see how a 22 yr old house could have one unless it was used when installed?


    when we were installing them i don't remember installing any belt drive furnaces...........

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    39

    Pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcro View Post
    ....I'm wondering now if there is CO in that space that is preventing the furnace from operating. I've got a fan going right now, with all the doors and windows open, to clear it out. Is this even a probable reason why this thing wouldn't be working?
    ....
    IMO (note the 'Regular Member' tag), this is the simplest problem that would cause this behavior. The other simple solution would be to try to manually light the pilot per the instructions on the furnace.

    The problem is, there may be bigger problems that are not apparent.

    Locally, most HVAC contractors will come out and light a pilot for free. You may try calling back and explain that you need your pilot lit, and that you don't have heat right now.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,793
    Good chance it did some harm to the furnace running it like that.

    Belt drive blower, its OLD.
    Now would be a good time to get some quotes on a new higher efficiency furnace.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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