The standing pilot light was the regular way to ignite gas-powered furnaces for almost as long as these heating systems have existed. But now an electric ignition system have started to replace pilot lights. Because an electric ignition does not need constant power the way a pilot light does, it contributes to energy savings. The electric ignition is one of the reasons modern furnaces have seen a rise in AFUE ratings (annual fuel utilization efficiency) and have remained competitive with other, newer heating systems.
However, just like a pilot light going out, if your electric ignition fails, the gas jets in the burner will not come on and the furnace will provide no heat. There are a number of reasons this might occur, but whatever is behind the problem, you should not attempt to troubleshoot it yourself. Gas furnaces are potentially hazardous if they receive untrained work. Stay safe and call professionals like the staff at Red Rock Mechanical when you need help with your heating in Williston, VT.
Possible causes for electronic ignition failure
- Igniter age: An electric ignition system is not designed to last as long as a furnace itself and it will need occasional replacements after it wears out. A repair technician will be able to determine if this is indeed the problem and find the proper replacement part.
- Wrong igniter for the furnace: Here is a good example of why calling for professionals is best. If the wrong type of igniter is in the furnace with incorrectly matched voltage, it will soon fail.
- High temperature limit switch affecting the igniter: The high temperature limit switch is an important safety feature of a furnace that prevents it from becoming too hot. The switch will turn the furnace off when the temperature rises too high. But a clogged air filter can cause the switch to start turning off the igniter early. The limit switch itself can often malfunction, preventing the igniter from turning on at all.
- High current in the home: A power surge can cause the electric igniter to burn out, especially if it is a “hot surface” igniter, which functions similar to a light bulb with a burning filament.
Don’t go “do-it-yourself”
Although the electronic igniter in your furnace is a small and replaceable component, you should never attempt to change it yourself. First of all, you won’t know for certain what caused the igniter to fail, and there may be other issues that need attention. Second, you should never interfere with any natural gas system because of the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure and other hazards.
Call Red Rock Mechanical and our 24/7 emergency service for assistance with a gas furnace. Take no chances with your heating in Williston, VT: rely on our NATE-certified repair technicians.