Are you having trouble getting your furnace to start once or more? Then you may be familiar with furnace hot surface ignitors (HSI). These little devices are responsible for getting your furnace up and running when the temperatures dip. But how exactly do they work? In this blog post, we will uncover what hot surface ignitors are, how they work, and why they sometimes struggle to do their job. So sit back, relax, and join us on a journey into the world of ignition systems! 

How Do Hot Surface Ignitors Work?

Furnace hot surface ignitors are a type of electronic device used in gas furnaces to ignite the gas that powers the system. It is a small device – typically, a silicon carbide element that produces a high voltage when heated. Hot surface ignitors work by converting electrical energy into heat energy. The energy can then be used to open the gas valve and start the gas flow or spark a pilot light. This process ensures that no additional flame sources are required for ignition. It also helps reduce wear and tear on the mechanical parts since there is no additional friction or contact with other moving parts. While old-fashioned forms of ignition, like pilot lights, were still reliable, hot surface ignitors made furnaces safer, more efficient, and more reliable.

Symptoms of a Failing Hot Surface Ignitor

Hot surface ignitors tend to last ten years or more. Yet, when they fail, they can cause problems ranging from sluggish start-ups to noisy operations. Some common symptoms of a failing hot surface ignitor include delayed ignition or a furnace that takes too long to turn on or shuts off prematurely. Sometimes, the HSI will not heat up at all, leaving your furnace unable to ignite its gas burners. In other cases, the HSI may continue working but fail without warning. If your furnace is not heating adequately or cycling on and off too frequently, it may be time to replace your hot surface ignitor. Yet, if that does not resolve the issue, consider a new furnace this time.

Why Do Hot Surface Ignitors Fail?

Like all electrical components, hot surface igniters can fail due to various factors. Common problems with hot surface ignitors include:

Not enough voltage

One potential reason why your furnace ignitor is not getting voltage is because of loose or damaged wiring. Another potential cause could be a faulty control board. Additionally, opened switches or a damaged ignition controller could be to blame. Test the main control boards and look for wiring problems and exposed switches to fix this issue.

Thermal overload

Thermal overload is when too much heat is generated in the ignitor, which can cause the ignitor to overheat and shut off. Dirt accumulation is often the culprit behind thermal overload. To prevent this, ensure your gas heater for home is regularly cleaned and serviced.

Accumulated dust

Debris and dust can build up on the ignitor’s surface, leading to weak or no sparks. Make sure to clean it often to avoid this issue.

Corroded or detached wires

The wires connecting the ignitor to the furnace’s control board might sometimes corrode or detach. If so, your furnace will not receive the signal to turn on. If your unit experiences no ignition, you may have to clean or replace the wiring.

What to Do to Ensure Your System Is Functioning Properly

When you encounter an issue with your hot surface ignitor, it is crucial to enlist the help of a professional HVAC repair. For one, they will have the expertise and skills to diagnose and repair the problem accurately. Furthermore, they can help you spot any potential problems and make needed repairs before they cause a service disruption. Finally, a professional repair technician can help you quickly and safely get your furnace working again. 

HVAC Repair Near Me

Are you struggling to get your furnace working in the biting cold? Do not settle for less. Instead, secure the best furnace repair services in South Pasadena and San Marino areas. Pioneers Heating and Air is a BBB-rated HVAC service provider specializing in furnace installation, repair, and maintenance services. With our team of certified technicians and top-quality products, we provide reliable solutions for all your HVAC repair needs. We also ensure that all repairs are completed accurately and with top-tier customer service. So beat the bitter cold and restore comfort to your home with Pioneers Heating and Air! Call us today for more information about our services and avail discounts and free consultations.

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