Fixing my furnace by turning on the gas stove (??)

Hi all, I've had a very strange problem with my furnace lately. It's happened about ten times that when the thermostat clicks and it should start putting out heat again, the furnace does not turn on. When this happens overnight the house temperature drops 15 degrees, or if it is during the day we'll notice it after a couple degree drop. So here is the strange thing -- to get the furnace running again, I walk over to the gas stove and turn on one of the burners, and within 10 seconds I hear the furnace start up.
When this first started happening I tried messing with the thermostat and breaker in addition to turning on the gas stove, but the last several times I've gotten it restarted solely by turning on the stove. The furnace is a '91 Janitrol. Does anyone know if it might have a gas pressure sensor that prevents it from turning on if the gas pressure is too high or low? I was wondering if turning on the stove regulates the pressure so the furnace can start up.
I described this to the gas company and they said it sounded like a furnace problem, and I called an HVAC friend and he did not have any ideas, so I was hoping someone might have ideas or some kind of experience with this. Any thoughts are appreciated!
Kevin
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I'd be willing bet it's a the regulator at the supply. Most gas valves protect against over-pressure; turning on the stove may cause it to drop just a tad -- just enough to allow the furnace valve to open.
If it's not the regulator, then the furnace valve is probably defective.
This is not a do-it-yourself job. Hire a qualified technician. (blowing one's house off the foundations is more serious than just breaking what you're working on)
LLoyd
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LLoyd, thank you for the quick reply! I agree, I will definitely have a professional work on this. I was just looking for thoughts since the gas company and my HVAC friend did not have any ideas. If it was the regulator at the supply, do you know if that is something the gas company is usually responsible for? The gas company person I talked to on the phone said it's free to have them test the gas, so he said I could have them do that but then discouraged me from it since he guessed it was a furnace problem. One more question -- if I had the gas company come out to test, would it be best for them to test while the furnace is in the "not turning on" state?
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IF it's a supply pressure problem, they'll be able to determine it with a manometer, and will correct it if it's out of tolerance. It's the static pressure when no appliance is running that they'd test first. Some regulators will leak a little under no demand, and pressurize the downwind pipes beyond normal working pressure. When you use gas, the tiny "closed position" leak doesn't prevent the regulator from regulating, so it'll look more or less normal then.
It's a fairly common problem with old regulators. Wear in the needle seats or a flake of gunk can cause it.
LLoyd
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> fired this volley in I presumed, when you said "turn on the stove", you meant the top burners.
If that's the case, try just the oven, without turning on any top burners. If the static supply pressure is high, it will probably fail to light, also.
It won't fail necessarily, but bi-metal type gas valves protect against high supply pressure. If your stove has a "solid state" (glowing type) igniter in the oven, rather than a standing pilot, it will probably have the type of valve that will fail to open under high pressure.
Don't forget to turn it off after the test.
LLoyd
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On Jan 16, 3:11pm, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

That is correct, I turned on the top burners.

I will check that out and test turning on the oven only when I get home. Thanks again for your replies, I really appreciate your suggestions.
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On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 10:41:52 -0800 (PST), Kevin

I think you should get a new stove. Bubba
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Well, there you go......
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Kevin posted for all of us...

--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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In the event that anyone would find this post and be interested in the resolution.. I finally got around to getting this looked at and fixed today. In the past 1.5 months it never failed that every time the furnace would not kick on it would either be the weekend or an evening and so cold that I did not want to leave the heat off all night, so I let the problem go since I did not want to pay the additional $50 for an after hours call, and turning on the stove was such an easy fix. I would estimate the furnace had the not-kicking-on problem 40 times, and of those 35 times it was fixed by nothing other than turning on the stove burner, and the other 5 times the stove burner did not do it and I had to shut off the furnace breaker for a few minutes, and it would kick on when the breaker was flipped back on.
Today was the perfect day -- I noticed the furnace was not on at 6:00AM, and it's a pretty warm day so I decided to call a technician and leave the furnace in the off state until he came this afternoon. He did not believe it could be related to the stove, and gave a very convincing explanation of how it could not be related, and then said "let's see the stove." I turned on the stove and of course it was one of the rare times when the stove did not get the furnace to turn on. He left the furnace off and got out his electrical tester, and quickly determined the little sequencer was bad, and not opening up (I think is what he said.) So 30 minutes and $215 dollars later I'm back in business (hopefully), but I still have no confimation from an expert on the stove connection, and that I'm really not crazy.
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