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4 Types of Gas Furnace Ignitors

4 Types of Gas Furnace Ignitors

Do You Have One of These Gas Furnace Ignitors?

Getting ready for another chilly winter season? It may be the right time to check out new gas furnaces. However, it’s a little tricky to know what kind of furnace ignitor system you’re looking for. That’s because the type of ignitor can vary depending on when the furnace was manufactured. We have compiled a list of four popular types of furnace ignitors, listed from newest to oldest, to give you an idea of what you currently have. This should help you figure out what you want to replace it with.

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Hot Surface Ignition System

If your existing furnace was made sometime within the past 20 or so years, it is likely equipped with a hot surface ignition system. This type of furnace ignitor is considered to be much more energy-efficient than its predecessors because it only burns fuel when the furnace is heating your home. They tend to operate more quietly than pilot lights or direct spark ignition systems because they don’t “click” to light up.

Direct Spark Ignition System

If your home was equipped with a furnace in the 80s or 90s, the system may be integrated with a direct spark ignition system. You may even have one if you own a modern furnace manufactured by brands such as Ruud or Rheem. Instead of lighting a pilot burner, as is the case with previous models, it creates flames at the main burners. The advantage that homeowners tend to love about this type of furnace ignitor is that it’s long-lasting.

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Intermittent Pilot Light Ignition System

Before direct spark ignition was used, intermittent pilot ignition systems were all the rage. They were quite common from the 1950s until just before the 2000s. This type of furnace ignitor works by using a gas pilot light and an automatic spark ignitor. The gas pilot light is always on, but once heat is needed for the home, the automatic spark ignitor switches on and lights the main burners.

Standing Pilot Ignition System

A standing pilot light is one of the oldest furnace ignitors manufactured. First created around the 1920s, the standing pilot ignition system was still prevalent up through the 1980s. While they were one of the first types of ignitors used, they’re also some of the most inefficient. Unless the pilot light and gas valve weren’t switched off, gas was constantly running through it in case it was ever lit. You might see this today with gas fireplaces, but it’s no longer used in homes or businesses with furnaces.

Broken Furnace

5 Signs of a Malfunctioning Furnace Ignitor

Why have you been thinking about getting a new furnace? Has it seemed a little off lately? We’ve put together five of the most widespread indicators that your furnace ignitor isn’t working properly to help check.

If you notice any of the below issues happening to your furnace, be sure to contact Snell Heating and Air Conditioning so our experts can advise you on the best course of action. Rather than replacing the whole thing, you may only need the ignitor to get cleaned or replaced. On the other hand, we may suggest that you replace the furnace itself if it would save you more money on energy bills or heat your home better. Either way, reach us here or at (703) 543-9649 so heating technicians can support you.

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Furnace Will Not Turn On

Does your furnace refuse to power on despite you turning up the temperature setting? Your family doesn’t have to layer up on fuzzy socks and sweaters. First, double-check that the thermostat is on the heat setting. Then, confirm that the furnace wasn’t tripped and switched off at the circuit breaker. If the furnace switch is on the “on” power setting, you might have a problem with the furnace ignitor. But, it could also be a more serious electrical circuitry issue. In either case, make Snell aware of this straight away.

Not Blowing Air

Your furnace doesn’t just stop blowing air for no reason. Most likely, it means one or several of the safety mechanisms have determined that your furnace ignitor is unable to operate, and has locked the operation until it’s resolved. If you look over the air filter and realize it’s dirty, switch it out so that the air can flow in and out with ease. You should also take a look in the air duct by the filter to be sure there isn’t any debris blocking the path there either. If they both look clear, the trouble has to do with the furnace ignitor.

Furnace Flames

Constantly Starting & Stopping

Are you over your furnace switching on and off throughout the day? Not only is it annoying, but it’s also terrible for the health of your furnace. Wait a minute, then try to turn it back on. If it’s still acting wonky, save it from a major failure and contact a technician to inspect the ignitor as soon as possible. In these situations, the furnace ignitor is probably on its last leg and unable to hold a charge. Because of this, the furnace doesn’t have enough time to heat up, so your household gets stuck with the cold.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

Earlier, we talked about checking to see whether or not your furnace was off because of a tripped circuit breaker. But, if you notice that the circuit breaker is tripping every time air blows out of the furnace, then this is actually an issue with the ignition system. Remember, starting and stopping wears down your furnace and could spell issues for your home’s electrical system. Although the fix could be as simple as replacing the furnace ignitor, call us for a visit and turn off the furnace at the breaker until we arrive.

Clicking Sound & Nothing Happens

With many types of furnaces, including direct spark or intermittent pilot ignition systems, you’ll hear a “click” when the ignitor lights the burner. From there, the air ducts should begin to circulate warm air throughout your house. However, if you hear a clicking sound but don’t feel any air blowing out, we recommend that you power off the furnace and have a certified contractor come over to troubleshoot the ignition system in your unit. We want you and your family to remain safe as you have a professional deal with the matter!

Emergency Plumber & HVAC Technician

Furnace Repair & Installation Services

Whether it’s your furnace ignitor or another piece of HVAC equipment that’s acting up, the team of technicians at Snell Heating and Air Conditioning are more than capable of performing exceptional furnace repair and furnace installation services. In addition, our staff offers dependable furnace tune-up solutions to ensure you are ready for the cold weather. All our furnace specialists are licensed, certified, and highly trained so that you are getting the highest level of support. Let’s put the warmth back into your home. Schedule an appointment here or at (703) 543-9649 today.

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