Furnace Repair and Electronics

Most furnaces today have an Integrated Furnace Control (IFC) board that lends a hand in figuring out many common problems. However, having a proper understanding of Furnace and Air conditioning fundamentals is always the best place to start your furnace repair journey. In subsequent posts we'll take a look at each component of a high efficiency furnace and detail their function within the big picture of furnace operation; but first let's talk about that scary, complicated, and sometimes intelligent IFC board.

The Integrated Furnace Control board has been symbiotic to the evolution of high efficiency furnaces. As high efficiency furnaces developed, the need for additional components necessitated the development of intelligent monitoring and control systems. It may be hard to imagine now, but the introduction of a computer-like component within the furnace was a major paradigm shift for service technicians who were unfamiliar and intimidated by electronics. Many of us (I belong to this class) wondered if our days of heating and cooling repair were numbered.
Fortunately the manufactures did a good job of educating service technicians that were willing to attend technical training seminars on how and why IFC boards work. The IFC boards of today have some very reliable diagnostic tools that have, in some ways, made our jobs easier. Most of these boards have some variation of blinking lights that point to an error code on one of the labels of the furnace. These labels are usually located on one of the removable panels on the front of the furnace. Though there is still a need for sound technical knowledge, the repair technician of today quite often finds themselves in and out of service calls within minutes, thanks to the diagnostics of the IFC board.