Pressure switch

Pressure switch is the safety device that proves the ventor motor is working (motor above burners connected to vent). It has vacuum lines that are connected from the pressure switch to the ventor motor that measure a neg air pressure. All furnaces will have different pressures required to operate properly, most times the pressure will be written on the switch measured in inches water column.

Problems with pressure switches

  • Vacuum lines port plugged
    You will get open pressure switch error code, It can easily be fixed then you should reset the furnace to delete error code.
    Over time moisture will build up in the vacuum line port then dry up causing it the plug off. I have found the build up on the motor side of the vacuum line that was bad enough to shut down the furnace causing no heat. The vacuum line can be removed and the hole cleaned out with a small Alan key or anything small enough to fit in the hole with out breaking off. After cleaning it out you would need to shut power off at the furnace power switch to delete error code.
  • Pressure switch fails closed
    Normally this would indicate a failed pressure switch, The furnace will test to make sure the switch is open before starting the ventor motor. The contacts in the switch are either stuck together or moisture has entered the switched and seized it in the closed position. The switch will need to be replaced then you should make sure the vacuum lines are sloped back to furnace so water will not enter the switch again.
  • Pressure switch fail open
    First and most obvious would be failed ventor motor, check 110 volts to motor and if it has seized.
    The most common problem on high efficient furnaces would be frost or water in the vent. First off the furnace being high efficient will produce water due to low vent temperatures and condensation in the vent pipe. Motor ventor motor has been replace recently then make sure orfice plate after motor is in place
  • Water I do not like horizontal vent pipes on furnace but sometime they must be done. If the pipe sages a little and water collects it will block off the pipe, Very important to have the pipes properly supported. When the Vent pipe is repaired it should drain back to the furnace where the water will be routed to a floor drain.
  • Frost the exhaust on the furnace is warm and moist, sometime the intake which is very close to the exhaust will suck in this warm moist air and mix it with cold air producing frost. Frost will plug up the intake pipe causing the furnace to fail, the exhaust vent should be extended 8 inches past the intake. Also you should be careful of fences and other obstructions the exhaust could rebound back to the intake pipe.
  • Faulty switch

Anytime I am working on a furnace or during maintenance I will test the pressure switch for faulty contacts. I will start the furnace up and when the burners are on lightly tap the pressure switch if it stops the furnace then it should be replaced since contacts are not making a good connections internally.

  • How to test the pressure switch

Pressure switches are on the safety circuit of the furnace so that means it is 24 Volts a/c. Test from common to either side of switch when motor is running you should have 24 volts on each side. Once it is established you have power then you can connect meter similar to the way I have on the picture below. Connect Positive to one side and Negative to the other, when the ventor motor is running the meter will read 0 Volts. If you have 24 Volts, the pressure switch is open and not proving the ventor motor. Or you test any Voltage between 1 to 23 Volts then you have bad contacts and the full power is not getting through causing the furnace to fail. On a few furnaces I have found the ventor motor seams to be running fine and power is good but fails on pressure switch. When this happens it is best to record the Voltage from one side of the pressure switch to the other because the motor could drop rpm for very short time. The short drop in power is enough for circuit board to notice but not enough for you to notice.


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14 thoughts on “Pressure switch

  1. Richard J. Barniak 02/16/2015 at 6:14 pm Reply

    Ok, you are a life saver and one of the reasons that I love the idea of free exchange of information on the internet. You give information in a concise and organized manner that is a pleasure to read and organized.
    Thank you for your excellent blog.


  2. jack 10/24/2015 at 10:47 am Reply

    We have 90 volt on the 12v side

    • jetstrem 10/27/2015 at 5:24 am Reply

      Not all safeties are 24 volts some will have 120 volts. Connect meter neg on one side of safety and positive on other, if 0 volts then safety is closed. If you read any other voltage safety needs to be replaced or reset.

  3. Bob 12/07/2015 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Bullet one fixed my problem, I used a small drill bit to clear the port. 0 dollars and more importantly , heat. Thx for the article!

  4. jimharshaw169 01/12/2016 at 4:19 am Reply


  5. Tina 01/12/2016 at 9:35 am Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this much needed information. You are a true life saver. Your blog was easier to understand and we appreciate your help.

  6. Jen Ritz 01/16/2016 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Thank u so much u are so easy to understand and it helped me alot

  7. Kim 02/11/2016 at 10:28 am Reply

    I have a question I am sure you could answer. Our furnace was blowing cold air. So I looked up the possible problems. It turned on and the burners would not ignite. I tried it several times and it did fire up once. So I started to research. I thought it was the hot plate igniter until I looked at the lighting codes on the control panel. That led me to the pressure switch. I pinched the tube a little to see if it would help. It then ignited. But the next time I turned it on it did not ignite. So, I tapped on the switch itself. Now it is running. Does this mean I have a faulty switch that needs replacing?

    • jetstrem 08/28/2016 at 1:15 pm Reply


      If furnace is running and you wiggle the wires to the pressure switch causes fu nice flame to go out then you have a faulty pressure switch. I would also check vacuum ports for blockage and other wires for poor connection.


  8. Aaron 10/05/2016 at 10:35 am Reply

    Thank you for this post. Similar to Bob above, a small drill bit cleared out a small blockage (maybe rust?) near the fan coming from the pressure switch; no problems with the actual switch… your tips helped me diagnose and fix without have to spend a few hundred bucks on a service call and/or parts that weren’t needed! And after searching the inter-webs knowing what my issue was, I STILL can’t find better advice!

  9. don 11/04/2016 at 6:51 am Reply

    I encountered a problem with my horizontal furnace in the crawl space. The ventor motor proving switch kept failing because of condensate buildup in the vacumn hose. I ended up relocating the pressure switch to a higher location and rerouting the tubing kind of like to a inverted trap.Condensate no longer collects in the tubing and furnace has been functioning as it is supposed to for the last three years.Just a heads up for other trouble shooters.

  10. Mike in Colorado 12/11/2016 at 11:58 pm Reply

    I wish I had come across this post before spending the last three hours watching videos and troubleshooting the Pressure Switch Open Fault. I tried sucking/blowing into the pressure switch but that only caused dizziness and embarrassment as my wife (bundled up like an eskimo) came down to check on me. I was reluctant to poke anything into the vacuum line port, not knowing what lies behind it, so I blew hard into it (using a piece of small irrigation tubing to reach). I heard the blockage break free and reconnected my vacuum hose. I turned the furnace back on and it fired right up! I will bookmark this page and I thank you for sharing.

  11. Rick 04/05/2017 at 9:27 am Reply

    Good info thanks. Our crud build up in the pressure switch orifices is chronic! We have to clean them 1 every 2 weeks or so. An identical furnace sitts beside it without any issues. Any ideas?

  12. Isaac 04/21/2017 at 6:52 am Reply

    Bullet One Fixed My Problem, I Found A Blocked Vacuum Line Port, Cleaned It Out With A Drill Bit and Then Pressure Switch Worked Properly Again. Thank YOU So Much For All Your Information and Step By Step Diagnostics. It Was Easy To Read and Follow!!!

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