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Jun 16 2024

The Warning Signs of a Faulty Furnace Ignitor

When winter’s chill sets in, a functioning furnace becomes the heart of a comfortable home. At Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we offer dependable services for local customers, including heating replacement and furnace repair. Our team understands how important it is to keep your heating system in great shape. One of the key components that ensure your furnace runs smoothly is the ignitor. But how do you know if it’s on the fritz? Read more to learn how to identify the warning signs of a faulty furnace ignitor and when to seek professional help.

What Is a Furnace Ignitor?

The furnace ignitor is the component responsible for igniting the burners and starting the heating process. Without it, your furnace would simply blow cold air. Modern furnaces typically use electronic ignitors rather than pilot lights, making them more efficient but also more prone to certain issues. A furnace ignitor can be found in most modern gas-powered furnaces. These components are typically made from silicon carbide or silicon nitride, materials that can withstand high temperatures. The ignitor receives a voltage signal from the furnace control board, then heats the ignitor to a high temperature, causing it to glow. When the ignitor reaches the required temperature, the gas valve opens, allowing gas to flow over the ignitor. The heat from the ignitor then ignites the gas, creating the flame that heats your home. This process is efficient and quick, but it requires the ignitor to be in good working condition.

How to Recognize a Failing Furnace Ignitor

Identifying a faulty ignitor early can save you from discomfort and costly repairs. Here are some signs that your furnace ignitor might be failing:

  • No Heat: The most obvious sign. If your furnace isn’t producing heat, the ignitor could be the culprit.
  • Intermittent Heating: If your furnace heats inconsistently, the ignitor might be failing to ignite the gas reliably.
  • Clicking Sounds: A series of clicks without the furnace lighting up often indicates the ignitor is trying to work but failing.
  • Long Heating Cycles: If it takes longer than usual for your home to warm up, the ignitor might not be igniting the gas efficiently.
  • Visible Damage: If you’re comfortable inspecting the ignitor, look for visible cracks or wear.

The presence of any of these signs suggests that your furnace ignitor may be on its way out. If you notice any of these issues, take care of the problem quickly so you can avoid further damage.

The Risks of a Faulty Furnace Ignitor

Overlooking a faulty ignitor can lead to several problems, both immediate and long-term:

  • Increased Utility Bills: A failing ignitor can cause your furnace to run inefficiently, driving up energy costs.
  • Frequent Repairs: Ignitor issues can lead to other components in the furnace wearing out faster, resulting in more frequent repairs.
  • Complete System Failure: Prolonged ignitor problems can cause total furnace breakdowns, leaving you without heat.
  • Safety Hazards: A malfunctioning ignitor can pose safety risks, including gas leaks or potential fire hazards.

Knowing When to Call for Help

While some minor maintenance can be done by property owners, most ignitor issues require professional intervention. Here’s when you should definitely call an HVAC company:

  • Persistent Issues: If you’ve noticed any of the warning signs repeatedly, it’s time for a professional diagnosis.
  • DIY Repairs Fail: If your attempts to troubleshoot haven’t worked, avoid further damage by seeking professional help.
  • Annual Maintenance: Regular furnace maintenance can catch ignitor issues before they become a problem.
  • Safety Concerns: If you smell gas or see anything that seems dangerous, contact a professional immediately.

Do You Need a Furnace or Air Conditioning Repair from a Local HVAC Company?

A faulty furnace ignitor can turn a cozy home into a chilly one quickly. Whether you need an air conditioning repair or a furnace repair, the team at Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air are here to help you with our reliable services. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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