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How to Replace a Furnace Ignitor

How to Replace a Furnace Ignitor

If an unimpeded electrical current and fuel source is flowing to a gas furnace and it fails to fire up, the problem could be due to a burned out igniter. That is because an igniter, depending on the type, generally has a life span of approximately five to ten years; meaning that at some point it will need to be replaced.

The purpose of the igniter on a modern gas furnace is to start the furnace using an electric current and a wire conductor. To work properly, an electric current must pass through the wire and create enough of a spark to light the main burner. Replacing a faulty igniter is not a hard job, but it is one that has some risks and takes patience to do it right. Electric current and gas fumes are both detrimental to the human body, and rushing the job can cause damage to the furnace. However, the job itself is typically one that can be accomplished by one person. That said; here is how to replace a furnace igniter.

Tools and Materials:

  • A screwdriver
  • A new furnace igniter
  • A flash light
  • Gloves – if needed

Replacement Steps:

  1. Turn off the electric power and the gas source.
  2. Locate the igniter; it is generally near the center of the burners, but may be in the sealed burner compartment. If it is in the sealed compartment, you will have to remove the covers to gain access to it. Either way, it is not hard to do.
  3. Note the location and position of the igniter, so that you will know where and how to position the new one.
  4. Remove the igniter screws a little at the time to see if you can pull it out. If it does not slide out, you will have to remove the screws completely. Keep track of them, because they will be reused.
  5. Take the old igniter to the store, so you are sure you get the exact one you need.
  6. Position the new igniter into place, and screw it in. Make sure to tighten the screws securely without stripping the threads.
  7. If the covers were removed, replace them.
  8. Turn the electrical power back on and reinsert the gas source. If the ignition glows, it is installed properly and the job is complete.

Every furnace manufacturer has a particular type of ignition system; however, the steps to replacing a faulty igniter are generally the same. If not, they should be closely related.

There are always risks associated with working on an electric or gas appliance. It is imperative that the appropriate equipment is used, and that the proper personal protection equipment is worn. In addition, it is very important to work in a safe environment. To avoid injury, make sure that the room is well lit and ventilated.

Bottom line; if you have any doubts about how to replace a furnace igniter, or have reservations about your own capability to do it safely and correctly, it is advisable that you call a professional to do the job for you.

Photo courtesy of Riebart.

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