How To Tell If An Ignitor On A Gas Furnace Is Working

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Electronic ignition failures frequently happen with gas furnaces. If you can tell that the gas furnace ignitor is not working, then you will be able to spot the problem immediately and find the right fix. You can resolve minor issues easily. Others call for the attention of experienced HVAC technicians.

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What You Need To Know About Gas Furnace Ignitor Failures

Read on if you would like to learn the best practices when troubleshooting a gas furnace ignitor. Also discussed are the signs that tell you when you should seek the assistance of an HVAC contractor.

Types Of Furnace Ignition Systems

With older furnace models, there were pilot lights that stayed lit as long as the furnace was in use. This system worked by having the gas valves open up to the burners to commence ignition. Pilot light failures meant that the heaters could not be used. These days, furnaces contain a new electronic ignition system that makes use of hot surface ignition or intermittent pilot systems.

With an intermittent pilot system, an electric spark is created to turn on the pilot light when necessary. A sensor will detect the lighting and automatically open the burner valves. The pilot light can then ignite the burners. In contrast, the hot surface ignition system will allow electricity to flow to the spot to generate heat. When it reaches a certain temperature, gas will move to the burner and trigger the ignitor. Unlike in older models, modern furnaces turn off the pilot light once its job is done to save energy.

When Electronic Ignition Gas Furnaces Fail

Failures happen when the ignition system cannot ignite the burners. The furnace cannot do its job since it can’t produce any heat at all. Another issue is delayed ignition, characterized by a loud sound prior to the occurrence of the ignition. Gases may build up if the ignitor is turned on several times at a rapid rate while attempting to get a successful turn. It is a potentially dangerous situation that merits examination by furnace technicians.

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The Usual Reasons Behind Gas Furnace Ignitor Failure

The following are among the usual reasons why gas furnace ignitors fail to work properly.

1. Ignitor Damage

Over time, ignitors can wear out or sustain damage. This is why old ignitors usually need a replacement earlier than the furnace. They simply do not last as long as the rest of the system. Don’t worry if you can’t tell whether your ignitor is damaged. An HVAC technician will have the know-how and the tools to make a reliable assessment. The examination involves the removal of the service panel for inspection and testing with a multimeter.

2. Wrong Type Of Furnace Ignitor

If there is an incorrect ignitor receiving an improper voltage, then failure can ensue.

3. High-Temperature Limit Switch

Furnaces have a safety feature called the limit switch. This keeps the temperature from getting too hot. Issues such as clogged air filters can make this switch turn off the ignitor prematurely. Sometimes the switch has mechanical problems that prevent the correct ignitor operation.

4. Power Surges

Just like anything that is dependent on electricity, power surges can cause damage to the ignition system. Hot surface ignitors with burning filaments are especially prone to this.

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Furnace Ignitor Troubleshooting Advice

Homeowners that know the basics of troubleshooting are in a better position to understand what’s happening with their furnace and ignition system. Some steps that you can take are listed below:

1. Check The Power

The first thing that you should do if the ignition fails is to check the power. Maybe the unit is perfectly fine, and it’s the circuit breaker that is having issues, providing power to the furnace. At the very least, make sure that it is turned on and powered up.

2. Reset The Ignitor

Sometimes you just have to reset the ignitor. To do this, kill the power to the heating system. Switch off the circuit feeding power to the furnace, get to the burner door, and find the ignitor. Set it to OFF and let five minutes pass before setting it back to ON. You can shut the burner door and restart the system by providing it with power from the main panel.

3. Call An HVAC Contractor

It would be best to consult an experienced HVAC contractor when troubles arise. This is a vital part of the home, so you don’t want to take chances with it. Let those with training and experience handle the matter for the sake of accuracy, safety, and efficiency. They can find out exactly what’s causing the issue and know how to fix it. You can be confident in their work and your heating system’s reliability.

Only expert HVAC technicians can afford to perform repairs all on their own. As for the rest, trying to perform repairs on a gas furnace without adequate training is literally playing with fire. It is dangerous and foolish to do so. It might result in further damage or worse. Do not skimp when it comes to furnace repair, as you might regret it later on. You are likely to spend more in the long run if you treat it as a DIY project. Call an HVAC company instead.

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Ignitor issues could turn out to be a complex problem that cannot be solved with a quick replacement. Electronic ignitors are not suitable for manual lighting. Even dirty filters and similar issues require the attention of professionals if you wish to have the cleaning or replacement done right. For homeowners, the best they can do is to learn about the possible underlying causes to appreciate the gravity of the situation. With basic knowledge of troubleshooting, further investigation can be pursued. The information gathered can then be relayed to HVAC technicians who can take over from there. They will be able to get the unit working in a snap.

Call Miller Oil Company For All Of Your Heating Requirements

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Miller Oil Company provides the most trusted heating and cooling services in the region. Our team is composed of excellent NATE certified technicians who can offer high-quality services, including repairs, installations, tune-ups, and replacements. If you need help with your furnace, then call us right away.

With Miller Oil Company, you are always in good hands. Get top-notch services, better indoor air quality, and higher energy efficiency at competitive rates. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a free estimate.
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