What To Do When Your Home Gas Furnace Ignitor Stops Working

gas furnaceA gas furnace, regardless of its age, is still susceptible to problems, such as electronic ignition failure. Should this happen, the gas furnace ignitor will stop working, and the furnace will be useless. If you can spot problems with your gas furnace when they happen, you will be able to get the help you need to have your furnace fixed right away. This will help keep your home safe and comfortable during the cold months.

Is Your Gas Furnace Ignitor Not Working?

You will not know what the problem is if you do not recognize it. By learning how to identify common problems with your gas furnace, you will know whether you can troubleshoot it yourself or call a professional HVAC technician for the job.

In this article, we discuss the different types of gas furnace ignitor systems. We share some causes of gas furnace ignition failure and some furnace troubleshooting tips.

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Getting To Know The Different Furnace Ignition Systems

Older furnace systems had pilot lights that indicated whether the furnace was working or not. These systems featured gas valves that opened up to the burners when combustion took place. When the pilot light failed, the heater would not turn on.

Newer furnace systems now come with an electronic ignition system. These systems can be an intermittent or hot surface ignition.

Intermittent pilot systems use electric sparks to turn on the pilot light. A sensor detects the light, triggering the opening of the valve that connects to the burners. The pilot light then ignites these burners. Hot surface ignition systems, on the other hand, use electricity to light up the furnace. Electricity increases the temperature in the ignition system, and when it reaches a specific temperature, the gas begins to flow to the burner so the ignitor can be lit.

For both systems, the pilot light automatically turns off after the furnace is on, saving more energy than older furnace systems.

What Is Electronic Ignition Gas Furnace Failure?

furnaceFailure in the electronic gas furnace is the result of the failure of the electronic ignition, which in turn, fails to ignite the burners.

A failing furnace ignition system will not produce heat. Often, the problem may be related to delayed ignition. This is easy to spot: the gas furnace produces a loud banging sound before ignition.

This situation results when the accumulation of gases from the ignitor turns on several times in succession. When gases accumulate, it could lead to a potentially dangerous problem. Make sure a professional HVAC company checks it out right away.

Common Causes Of Gas Furnace Ignitor Failure

Below, we will discuss some common causes of gas furnace ignitor issues.

Damaged Ignitor

Over time, ignitors can become damaged or worn down. Older ignitors tend to be worn down and will need a replacement. If you suspect that this is occurring with your heating system, call an HVAC company. An HVAC technician can determine if the furnace ignitor is too worn down for further use and will recommend a replacement if necessary. The technician will check the service panel for damage, remove the ignitor wires, and test the ignitor using a multimeter.

Using The Wrong Ignitor In Your Furnace

If the ignitor used in the furnace is the wrong voltage, the ignition will fail.

High-Temperature Limit Switch

The limit switch in the furnace helps regulate temperature to prevent the system from overheating. When the air filters are clogged, the switch will turn off the ignitor prematurely. If the limit switch has mechanical problems, the ignitor will not turn on as well.

Power Surges

Sudden surges in power can cause damage to the electric ignitor. The ignitor could burn out. Hot surface ignitors using burning filaments are the most susceptible to this type of damage.

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Easy Furnace Ignitor Troubleshooting Tips

furnace filterNot every problem with your gas furnace requires the attention of a professional. In some cases, simple troubleshooting steps will help you identify the problem and fix it on your own. Here are some of the steps you can do safely.

Power Check

Checking the power source is the very first step you need to do when troubleshooting your furnace. Very often, if the furnace is not powered up, the problem is the power source. Check the circuit breaker and other connections to see if there is no power.

Reset Furnace Ignitor

Turn off the power to the furnace, followed by the circuit to cut off power to the unit completely. Open the burner door and locate the ignitor. Turn it off for five minutes, then turn it on again. Close the burner door and restart the furnace from the electrical panel. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for resetting your furnace.

Call A Licensed HVAC Contractor

If there are problems that you are unsure of, always refer your gas furnace to a professional. HVAC service companies have trained technicians that have learned the proper inspection and testing techniques to be able to detect and identify different issues that could occur in a gas furnace. They can then choose the correct solution to fix the problem. When a licensed HVAC contractor handles problems with your gas furnace, you know you’re in good hands. Furthermore, you know that a technician can perform the proper procedures to ensure that any repairs or replacements made on your furnace unit are safe and correct.

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Some ignitor furnace problems could be far more complicated compared to the usual issues wherein an old ignitor requires a replacement. Furnaces using electronic ignitors require power to ignite and will not light up using a manual light. Some problems, such as dirty filters, are not that easy to fix. Some filters require the right type of approach, expertise, and the proper tools that professional technicians have. Licensed HVAC technicians can clean the filter thoroughly and replace it correctly.

However, it pays to know why your gas furnace is not working, particularly if it is related to the ignitor. When you understand your own equipment, you are far more confident about how it works and know exactly the right steps to take if it shows some problems. You will also know when and why to elevate the issue to a professional HVAC company.


Call Lawes Company, Your Local HVAC Experts

Lawes Company is one of the leading heating and cooling professionals in the area. Our NATE-certified technicians are trained and experienced in a wide variety of HVAC concerns, be it a simple tuneup and checkup, or a more complicated repair, replacement, or installation job.

Years of industry experience have helped us build our competence in HVAC services. With our track record, Lawes Company can assure you that we do the best we can with every job we do. Schedule an appointment with us today, and we will give you an in-home estimate at no cost.

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