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AAction Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Blog

What Is a Mercury Sensor?

Contemporary manufacturers of natural gas-powered furnaces have the safety of consumers in mind during every step of the design process. They want to make sure that your family stays both warm and safe through the winter months, without any danger from toxic gas leaks. At AAction air, comfort combined with safety is also a priority with us when it comes to home heating in Savannah, GA. We’ll take all the necessary steps during installation, repair, and maintenance of your gas-powered furnace to see that it lives up to its manufacturer’s safety precautions.

One of the main safety mechanisms inside a natural gas furnace is a fail-safe device that monitors if the pilot light is lit. Why is it important to have this kind of sensor? It’s because the pilot light is responsible for igniting the jets that burn the flow of natural gas; if the pilot light goes out, the gas will continue to flow, and possibly flood the combustion chamber. This can lead to an explosive hazard when the pilot light comes back on, or it may even allow the gas to enter your living space. A device that senses if the flame is lit will automatically shut off the flow from the gas line should the pilot go out, preventing any safety hazards.

The mercury sensor

Some furnaces use a thermocouple to detect if the pilot is burning: two pieces of different metals that produce higher voltage between them as the heat around them increases. More common now, however, is the mercury sensor. It works in a very similar fashion, except that it doesn’t use an electric current to determine if there is sufficient heat coming from the pilot light to show that it is burning. Instead, it uses mercury levels, much like in a thermometer. If the mercury levels drop too low, the mercury sensory deactivates the flame igniter, and then energizes a circuit to the gas valve. This circuit will cause the gas valve to shut, and prevent any more gas from flowing to the burners.

Another similarity to thermocouples is that mercury sensors come in a variety of models and sizes to match the numerous furnaces available. Even though they are small objects, mercury sensors aren’t something you want to attempt to replace yourself with a model purchased online; trust this work to professionals. This is an issue of safety, so don’t leave it to guesswork.

The technicians at AAction Air are all NATE-certified, so they can provide you with the expert skill and knowledge necessary to make certain that your gas-powered furnace is working safely. When you need professional work for your home heating in Savannah, GA, look to AAction Air.

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