If you suddenly realize your house is chilly and your furnace isn't running or it's blowing cool air, the furnace ignitor could be to blame. This is a common furnace problem and it also has a fairly easy fix. Here's a look at how a furnace ignitor works and what to do when the part goes bad.
How A Furnace Ignitor Works
An ignitor is a small part in your furnace that triggers the flames that heat the air to distribute through your house. The ignitor takes the place of a pilot light that was present in older furnaces. The part is hooked up to wiring that heats the end of the ignitor with electricity. When the end gets hot, it causes the gas to burn and the burners in the furnace ignite.
What Causes Problems With The Ignitor
An ignitor can fail due to old age. This part usually doesn't last as long as your furnace, so you can expect to deal with a failed ignitor at some point. The ignitor might stop working due to a crack or buildup of soot around the ignition parts.
How To Tell If The Ignitor Is Bad
A bad ignitor can cause different malfunctions with your furnace. If the part is cracked, it can't heat up and ignite the burners. This could cause your furnace to blow cool air. If the part is dirty, the furnace might work intermittently.
The furnace might also shut itself down and not operate at all because it senses a problem with the furnace ignitor. A heating repair technician can quickly tell if an ignitor is bad by pulling it out of your furnace and testing it with a multimeter.
How A Bad Furnace Ignitor Is Repaired
If the part is just dirty, the repair technician might clean it and the rest of the combustion area to see if that fixes the problem. However, if the part is damaged or broken as shown with a multimeter test, then the ignitor has to be replaced with a new part.
This is easy to do since the part is easily accessed by removing the panel from the furnace. Then the part can be unscrewed and pulled out to be tested. A new ignitor is then screwed in place and connected to the wiring by plugging it in.
Replacing a bad furnace ignitor is a quick repair job, but the heating repair technician may take time to check other areas around the burners and heat exchanger to make sure nothing was damaged due to the bad ignitor, especially if your furnace was short cycling.
An ignitor is one of the more affordable furnace parts, so repairs aren't too expensive, especially when compared to problems with the heat exchanger. Running your furnace when the ignition has problems could be dangerous and cause harm to your furnace.
It's best to call a heating repair company for advice when your furnace blows cold air or keeps shutting down. You may need to turn your furnace off until a heating technician can identify the problem and make repairs.
Reach out to a local heating repair service today for more information.