Trane Ignition and Lockout Issues
Greetings! First time poster, but long-time owner of a Trane furnace with problems. I hope this post doesn't break any rules.
I am a homeowner with a Trane model # TDE080A945M1 serial# 314X1R26 gas furnace that was purchased by the folks from whom we purchased our home. We've had multiple issues with this furnace...seemingly something has gone wrong each of the last 5 or 6 years.
Currently, we are having issues with the furnace not lighting and eventually locking-out after 3 attempts (2 light flashing error code). When the t-stat calls for heat, the igniter glows orange but the burners don't light. Rarely does it ever seem to light on the first attempt. It doesn't always lock-out each time it calls for heat. However, lately I've had to reset the furnace 5 or 6 times per day. Luckily, it eventually lights and gives us heat...but it seems to be getting worse. I am curious in your opinion of what may be causing this issue. My wife and I are extremely frustrated.
Here is a recent timeline of what's been going on with our furnace.
Feb 2011: We started having heating issues in January 2011. After a month of troubleshooting and multiple service calls by our hvac contractor, the control board was replaced. This was the 3rd control board we've had in just over 7 years. This was also replaced in 2007. This fixed last Winter's problem for the remainder of the heating season.
November 2011: After a month or so of having isolated issues of locking-out after 3 attempts, I called our hvac contractor. After conducting a thorough servicing and check-up on the system, the only issue they could find was that the Flame Sensor was only testing at 1.9 amps. They cleaned the flame sensor and it then tested at 2.3 amps. The air filter was changed, the gas pressure was OK, and everything else seemed to be in perfect running order. They just said that it was probably because of the corrosion that develops on the flame sensor. Since our hvac system is in our laundry room, I understand that lint may cause some issues with the sensor. We also do not have an outside air source, however we always keep the laundry room door open for better airflow.
December 2011: After 2 weeks of working well, the furnace started having the same lock-out issues after 3 attempts to light. It progressively has gotten worse. After once again changing the air filter, I replaced the Flame Sensor with a replacement part I purchased from the local Trane parts store. Unfortunately this has not helped to fix the problem. I still have to reset it multiple times each day. Luckily it does turn on after a few attempts.
So what now? Since the flame sensor is new, the gas pressure is OK, and everything else checked out OK in November, could it possibly be the igniter?? It always glows orange on cue, but do you think this could be the cause of our problems.
I would love to be able to suggest something to our hvac contractor. I really like them, but it gets frustrating having to call them multiple times each year. If it is something as simple as the igniter, shouldn't that be something they should've thought of already?
The pattern of your problem defines a commonly overlooked solution. The laundry room is a factor. The repair involves more than what I can suggest for you to do from this site. It is electrical related, and most likely not your board. Your igniter is not bad either. Where are you located? Maybe one of our pros are in your area.
The other thing that caught my attention is another issue involving the proximity of your furnace to your laundry. You mentioned no make up air and keeping the door open. Do you also have your gas water heater there too? If your clothes dryer is in there with your gas furnace, gas water heater, and no make-up air, that needs to be corrected. It would also be a good idea to invest in a low level CO monitor.
Second Opinion -
Looking at the contractor map of southwest Ohio, we are at least 30 minutes away from the nearest contractor. So that's probably not an option.
A few follow-up questions for you:
In 3 or 4 sentences, can you give me a brief description of the electrical-related problem that is often overlooked? I would LOVE to at least be able to mention this specifically to my current contractor or whomever else I call. If I mention this suggestion came from a HVAC pro, perhaps they would be more apt to investigate it immediately?
Regarding no make up air, it sounds as if you're recommending piping in outside air for combustion similar to what needs to be done for a high-efficiency furnace. Correct? Our gas hot water heater is in the same small laundry room as the furnace and washer/dryer. Trust me, I wish this wasn't the set-up...but our house is 50 years old and there really isn't another option.
Your comment about a low-level CO monitor caught my attention too. We've had a regular CO monitor for several years. May I ask why you think we need to have a low-level monitor...as opposed to the regular CO monitor we already have? Is it a good idea to go with a low-level monitor since the furnace and gas water heater are in the same room? Should we locate this low-level monitor in the laundry room? Or outside of the laundry room...perhaps in the living room?
is possible the inshot burrners are plugged with lint and not letting the gas through properly. The ignitor is orange simce strange it should be real bright and almost yellow in color.
have you guy remove the burners and clean them and blow them out real good and check the amps draw of the ignitor should be above 3 amps
have him also check for good ground to the unit. Alot of time on a replacement furnace the wiring is old and doesnt have a ground or the ground is weak and with this furnace ground is most important
Call your servicer and get them to verify the integrity of the entire proving circuit. The dust/lint from the laundry is most likely the culprit, and affecting its performance. A grounding problem is another thing to look at, but since the pattern is diminishing results through time, a bad ground is most likely ruled out, IMHO.
Originally Posted by Carlisle1974
As your laundry room has a clothes drier, gas furnace, and water heater with no make-up air, you run the risk of filling your rom up with 'flue gas', and distributing it into your living space through the furnace door or leaking return duct. It is a very high probablility that the pattern could set itself up for a CO event. Shutting the laundry door would ensure that that happens. That room needs proper air for combustion, and pressure relief for clothes drier operation. Is that a NG drier, BTW? Get your servicer involved with this. It is much more important than the lack of heat problem you are experiencing.
The CO detector you have has to prove 70 ppm for 3.5 to 4 hours before it alarms. A low level CO monitor begins to indicate levels starting @ 5 ppm and begins alarming @ 15 ppm. It gives you time to see what is going on, and deal with the problem - without the Fire Department's or EMS's involvement, if that concept makes sense.
If you have one low level alarm for the home, mounting it at eye level and proximity of the master bedroom is recommended. The servicer must be qualified to offer these monitors, and cannot be bought at the big box stores. The general public needs education about these things - Something your qualified servicer should be doing.
Tinknocker Service Tech-
When they serviced it back in November, they took it outside and blew out all of the dust and lint. I'll be sure to ask the hvac contractor about the ground.
Thank you for your suggestion to check the integrity of the entire proving circuit. as an FYI, our clothes drier is electric. I would like to think that the furnace and water heater are ducted (is that a word?) correctly so build up shouldn't be too big of an issue...but you never know. I'll do some checking on getting a low-level CO detector.
in everyone's opinion, should I expect more in the way of answers or troubleshooting from my hvac contractor? I'm sure none of the pros here want to criticize one of their own, but I'm not sure if I'm getting all the answers I need from them. I like using him because he is local and really helped us out back in 2007 w/ our control board issue when no one seemed to want to help or even care. He's also very prompt and doesn't leave us hanging.
Also, is there any chance that my only option is to eventually upgrade to a high-efficiency unit since it requires its own combustible air source? I hate to invest this much cash because we're not sure if we'll be here long enough to recoup our investment.
Last edited by Carlisle1974; 12-19-2011 at 04:50 PM.
combustion air zone measurements can be made easily enough to determine if there is a problem