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How To Tell If The Ignitor On Your Gas Furnace Is Working

gas furnaceOne of the most common complaints about gas furnaces is when the gas furnace ignitor is not working. Learning to identify the problem when the furnace ignitor starts to fail is helpful in ensuring that you fix your gas furnace right away. If you can determine the problem, you will be able to know whether it is simple enough for an easy fix or if you will have to call a professional.

How To Identify Problems With Your Gas Furnace Ignitor

There are different reasons why a gas furnace ignitor will stop working. First, you need to identify the major types of furnace ignition systems to understand how they work. In this article, we discuss gas furnace ignition types, causes for failure, and some furnace troubleshooting tips you can use.

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Furnace Ignition System Types

Older furnace systems have a built-in pilot light that stays lit as long as the furnace is on. These systems have gas valves that open up to burners to allow the combustion gas through. If the pilot light stops working, the heater will not turn on.

Newer furnaces have an electronic ignition system. Depending on the model, a gas furnace may run on an intermittent pilot system or a hot surface ignition system.

The intermittent system utilizes sparks to ignite the pilot light. A sensor detects the activity and opens the valve that leads to the burners. The pilot light then ignites the burners. The hot surface ignition type, however, uses electrical power to heat up the area. After the system reaches a specific temperature, gas will flow to the burner and light up the ignitor.

Both systems are designed to be energy-efficient. Once the gas furnace is turned on, the pilot light will be turned off, saving more energy compared to older gas furnaces.

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What Happens When Electronic Ignition In A Gas Furnace Fails?

no heat in houseIgnition failure in an electronic gas furnace can be traced to the failure of the electronic ignition. This results in the failure of the burners to ignite.

When burners do not ignite, they cannot produce heat. Sometimes, the ignition is delayed. If this is the case with your burner, listen for a loud bang from the system before ignition. If your gas furnace produces that noise prior to ignition, it may have a delayed ignition issue.

Delayed ignition usually happens when the ignitor turns on many times in succession. As a result, gases will accumulate. Do not ignore this problem because it is a serious safety issue. Call a furnace expert right away.

Why The Gas Furnace Ignitor Stops Working

Ignitors play a key role in starting up the furnace. It is one of the essential components that is used frequently. Over time, it becomes worn down or damaged. When the HVAC technician comes over to check the furnace, he will determine whether the ignitor is worn down and needs a replacement. Usually, the technician will remove the service panel of the furnace, inspect for any damage, remove the ignitor wires, and then use a multimeter to test the ignitor.

Here are some of the most common reasons why the ignitor fails.

  • Using The Wrong Ignitor: Ignition failure will happen if your furnace uses an ignitor that has the incorrect voltage.
  • The Limit Switch Becomes Too Hot: Furnaces have a built-in limit switch that detects high temperatures and prevents overheating. If the air filters of the unit are severely clogged, the switch may turn off the ignitor too early. Any mechanical problem involving the limit switch can also cause problems with the ignitor.
  • Sudden Power Surges: Power surges cause damage to appliances that run on electricity. As such, it can cause severe problems with the electric ignitor. This is a common issue with ignitors that utilize burning filaments.

 

How To Troubleshoot Your Furnace Ignitor

hvac contractor repairing a furnaceAnyone can and should learn basic troubleshooting. Having a good understanding of how your furnace works will help you take better care of it. Here are tips you can use.

  • No Power: If the unit is not powered on, check the circuit breaker for problems. Often, the furnace does not work because there is no electricity coming from the power source.
  • Reset The Ignitor: If the system is not working, resetting the ignitor could work. To reset, turn off the power that feeds the furnace, then turn off the power circuit. Look for the burner door. Behind this is the ignitor. Turn this off as well. After 5 minutes, turn the ignitor back on again. Close the burner door, ensuring that the switch is engaged. Turn on the power to the furnace from the main panel to restart the furnace. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual on how to reset your furnace properly.

When To Call A Professional HVAC Contractor

There are times when your heating system will fail due to more serious reasons. Should this happen, seek professional help right away. A professional HVAC contractor can diagnose the problem and provide the correct solution. To work in the industry, HVAC technicians are required to acquire the right training and skills to perform their job safely and correctly. When you have a professional to back you up, you know that your home will be safe and comfortable.

Avoid doing DIY furnace repairs as much as possible. Simple troubleshooting techniques are not intensive approaches. If there are damaged components that are malfunctioning, you may not have the correct training to repair it yourself. Tinkering with a heating system you do not completely understand will be dangerous and could damage your unit further. As a result, you will spend more on repairs and put your life and property at risk. If your gas furnace will not respond to simple troubleshooting or if you do not understand what the problem is, call your HVAC company right away.
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Conclusion

Problems with the ignitor furnace are often too complicated for a simple troubleshoot or DIY replacement. The whole point of ensuring that you understand how your unit works is for you to identify problems early and have the furnace inspected by a professional when necessary to avoid further damage.

If your furnace has been showing some signs of problems with its ignition, have it checked right away by a professional. The earlier that you resolve the problem, the better the chances that the problem doesn’t escalate, costing you more in repairs.

How Tower Energy Can Help You With Your Heating Needs

Tower Energy is one of the industry leaders in heating and cooling services. Our technicians are NATE-certified and highly skilled in a range of services. We specialize in HVAC repairs, installations, replacements, tune-ups, and more. We guarantee all of the work that we perform for you. Also, we off some of the most competitive prices in the area. Don’t leave anything to chance. Call Tower Energy today and schedule a free, in-home estimate.

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