How Does A Furnace Ignitor Work?

The furnace ignitor produces the clicking sound when you turn up the temperature to start the furnace. The ignitor produces a spark, which ignites the gas and heats the air. However, if the furnace ignitor stops working, you should find out what’s causing it, if it needs to be replaced, and when you need professional help.

How to Check Your Furnace Ignitor

A number of factors can cause an ignitor to fail. You can try the following to determine the cause:

  • See the thermostat: Checking to see if the thermostat is set to heat first. If this is the case, the ignitor isn’t producing enough combustion to heat the air.
  • Look at the circuit breakers: Examine the circuit breakers in your furnace to ensure that you are not using too much electricity at once. The breaker may trip if too much power is consumed at once.
  • Inspect the gas lines: Check if the gas lines are working by inspecting the other gas-powered appliances. Contact your utility company for assistance if you need to repair a gas line.
  • Check the furnace drip pan: The drip pan located under the furnace can accumulate water from the furnace’s condensation, especially high-efficiency models. The float switch will trigger an automatic shutdown if the water drains incorrectly through that line.
  • Change your furnace filter: You should replace your furnace filter at least once every 90 days, or more frequently if recommended by the manufacturer. However, you should check your filter regularly to ensure it is clean.

The Symptoms of a Bad Furnace Ignitor

When you start your furnace, check the vents to feel if the air is blowing. If you do, it means the furnace ignitor isn’t heating the gas. An ignitor may malfunction for a number of reasons.

The furnace short-cycles

You might have a broken ignitor if you see your furnace cycling between on and off. The furnace will try to turn on again if the ignitor is unable to heat the gas.

The furnace ignitor is not glowing

Most modern furnaces operate with an electrical ignition and a hot surface ignitor, which may reach temperatures of 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check the front cover’s louvers once the furnace’s thermostat indicates it’s time to turn on. The top part of the ignitor should be replaced if no glow emanates from the area.

The furnace shuts off

You most likely have a faulty furnace ignitor if the furnace clicks on but never fully burns. In this case, the furnace detects a problem and shuts off to protect you. For professional guidance, contact a furnace company in your area.

The furnace is overpowered

A malfunctioning igniter can also be caused by overpowering. If your furnace trips your breaker box whenever it turns on, it is likely that your ignitor cannot handle the power load. Consult an electrician to diagnose and solve the problem.

The Best Way to Clean a Furnace Ignitor

In most cases, the furnace’s ignitor sensor needs to be cleaned, and an emery cloth is the best tool for the job.

  • Turn off all power to the unit.
  • Disconnect the wires and remove the screw that holds the ignitor
  • Rub away dirt and carbon residue with the emery cloth
  • Reconnect the ignitor

Set the thermostat to force the furnace to turn on. If nothing happens, you may need to replace your furnace ignitor.

Where to Buy a Furnace Ignitor?

You can find information about what model to buy in your furnace manual. Both local hardware stores and online sites should sell furnace ignitors. You can also search by furnace model online.

We always recommend having a professional repair and replace parts in your furnace. This ensures that the correct part is chosen and it is installed correctly. This ensures both the function and safety of the unit.

Always Inspect Your Furnace Ignitor

As soon as you notice the first signs of a malfunctioning furnace ignitor, take action. If your furnace ignitor appears to be malfunctioning, give us a call. An experienced technician can provide the correct part and replace it for you. Reputable companies will also stand behind their work.