What is a Hot Surface Igniter?

by Troy Dobson - Date: 2007-01-31 - Word Count: 533 Share This!

You have no heat and you have no idea why you just know the furnace is not lighting. In one of my other articles I told you about how important the thermocouple is to the standing pilot furnace. In this article I would like to talk about another type of heater igniter the hot surface ignition. I will explain the function of it and try to help you understand what you can do to help yourself when it comes to repairing this igniter. There are steps that each heating system follows called sequence of operation, the operation of a direct spark system as follows.

1. A call for heat is created by the thermostat.

2. The small fan (induced draft motor) will start.

3. The inducer activates a switch.

4. Voltage is applied to a piece of black glass (it actually looks like a piece of charcoal) that glows red hot.

5. The gas valve opens and the burners light.

6. Within less then a minute the blower or fan should start to turn sending warm air in to the home.

The hot surface igniter is as I have already indicated a piece f black glass. When voltage is applied to it, it glows red hot. When the hot surface igniter stops working it is immediate and with out previous warning it simply will not work. It is sometimes hard to locate the igniter. It may be right in the open or tucked behind a shield. What you will not be able to see easily will be the very small crack that breaks the plane of the igniter and stops it from getting red hot.

This is by far one of the easiest parts to replace. You can usually get the part from an appliance parts store or a heating and air conditioning parts supply house. There are usually just a couple of screws to take out and the igniter is typically plugged in.

Simply remove the igniter and take it to the parts house and get a new one. The most important thing to remember, besides making sure you turn off the power to the heater, is do not touch the glass part of the igniter at all. You will break it. Even if it does not break right a way the oils from your skin will get on it and after a couple of ignitions the oils will boil causing the glass to crack again.

One other item that should be red flag to a bigger problem, that would require a service technician, would be, if when you call for heat from the thermostat, this is depending on the type of heater you have, that the inducer motor does not start up. Or the inducer fan does start but the igniter never gets red hot, this may be because the fan can not trip the switch either due to a bad switch or the small hose that runs from the fan shroud to the switch is bad or disconnected. You can replace the hose or reconnect it. You could even replace the switch. At some point however you are going to have to decide if this over your head. Once you have determined that, then you should call a service technician.

Related Tags: repair, home, heater, home repair, home maintenance, igniter, hot surface ignitor

Whether you are a new home owner or long time owner you can find this tip and many others to help you do your own home maintenance and repairs. At least when you hire some one you will have good information about what they are supposed to be doing. http://www.homemaintenance.getaliving.net

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