What Are the Ways to Safely Use a Gas Furnace Igniter?

A gas furnace igniter is one of those small, simple pieces of technology that you never really think about — until it stops working. Without an igniter, your gas furnace won’t be able to light, and your home won’t have any heat.

Types of Gas Furnace Igniters

A gas furnace igniter does what its name suggests: It ignites the gas in your furnace. There are four main types of igniters:

  • Standing pilot light. This is a candle-sized gas flame that is on 24/7.
  • Intermittent. An intermittent pilot light only turns on whenever the furnace itself needs to run. The pilot light is lit by an electric spark, which functions much like a spark plug in your car’s engine.
  • Direct spark. A direct spark igniter skips the pilot light and applies the electric spark directly to the gas flowing through your furnace’s burners.
  • Hot surface. These have an electric filament, similar to what’s inside an incandescent light bulb, that glows red-hot in order to light the gas.

What If Your Gas Furnace Igniter Isn’t Working?

Furnace igniters can wear out or break over time, and some types are not too difficult to replace. However, what can be difficult is determining why it isn’t working and whether the igniter even needs to be replaced.

For example, there are several safety features on furnaces that will intentionally prevent the igniter from working when something has gone wrong. They could be triggered by a clogged air filter, a problem with the condensation drain, or a faulty ignition sensor.

The problem can also be electrical. In other words, your igniter isn’t broken, but it isn’t getting the power to ignite.

There are also safety considerations. A broken igniter means that the gas in the furnace is not burning off; if you accidentally light the gas yourself, you could get burned.

To avoid these issues, the easiest and safest solution is to call an expert to diagnose the problem and fix it correctly. If you need help with your Treasure Coast furnace igniter, contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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