How Electronic Ignition Works in a Furnace

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For many years, furnaces were lit using standing pilots. While there are a number of furnaces in existence that use a standing pilot, today’s furnaces use electronic ignition to light your furnace. There are two types of electronic ignition, and while each works differently, the both help reduce fuel usage. If you are interested in finding out how electronic ignition might help you and your furnace in Orange Park, call AC Designs, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Types of Electronic Ignition

There are two types of electronic ignition:

  • Intermittent pilot
  • Hot surface ignition

Intermittent Pilot

As the name indicates, the intermittent pilot is a pilot light that turns on intermittently, i.e., when the thermostat cues your furnace to start. With an intermittent pilot, a small gas line dedicated for the pilot light opens, and an electronic device creates a spark that lights the pilot. A flame sensor, one of the safety mechanisms, monitors the flame to see if it is present and viable; if the flame is viable, the flame sensor allows the main gas valve to open. Once the gas flows from the main gas valve, the pilot lights the burner, and the small gas line for the pilot closes, extinguishing the pilot.

Hot Surface Ignition

Hot surface ignition uses a metal probe to light your burner directly. The probe is made of metal, and heats like a light bulb. When the thermostat cues your heater to begin ignition, a current passes over a silicone filament that heats up to a temperature that will ignite the gas. Once this temperature is reached, the main gas valve opens and the gas is ignited, lighting the burner. Hot surface ignition is an easier ignition system than intermittent pilot, and as such, is used more frequently.

Some furnaces can be retro-fitted with electronic ignition, but there can be some cost associated with this upgrade.

If you are experiencing problems with your furnace’s electronic ignition, or any other heating problems with your furnace, call AC Designs, Inc. for professional furnace service in Orange Park, FL.

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