Goodman furnaces are some of the most reliable furnaces out there. However, this doesn't mean that they are impervious to technical malfunctions and other issues. One common malfunction is the furnace's pilot light not igniting when turning on the unit. What causes this? And more importantly, how do you fix it? We've researched the most common reasons why Goodman furnaces won't ignite.
Here are some of the most common reasons why a Goodman furnace won't ignite:
- Issues with the gas supply
- Dirty air filters are causing a blockage
- Issues with the ignition source
- Draft issues
- High limit switch has been tripped
If you're experiencing issues with your Goodman furnace, the first thing you want to do is look at the instruction manual. Not only can It give you quick directions on how to interpret the different error codes, but more specifically, it can help you troubleshoot ways to ignite the pilot light when it goes out. Continue reading to learn more about how to fix this issue.
- 1 What would cause a furnace to not ignite?
- 2 Can you bypass a furnace ignitor?
- 3 How long should a furnace ignitor last?
- 4 How do I reset my Goodman furnace?
- 5 How do you test a Goodman furnace ignitor?
- 6 What does a solid red light mean on my Goodman furnace?
- 7 Wrapping Things Up
What would cause a furnace to not ignite?
If you find yourself getting nowhere when attempting to troubleshoot your Goodman furnace, there may come the point where you'll need to contact an appliance technician.
However, before doing so, be sure to confirm that technician is experienced with Goodman furnaces specifically. Note that some technicians may also be able to consult you over the phone for a smaller fee—just another option to consider.
Issues with the gas supply
Before inspecting your furnace, make sure that your home's gas supply is on and free of leaks.
If you have a gas line that's supplied by the city, you may not be able to do this without a professional HVAC technician. But if you smell any gas near the furnace while it isn't on, the chances are that a gas leak can be the issue.
Dirty air filters are causing a blockage
Most HVAC technicians recommend changing your furnace air filters every two months. However, if you live in an area with a lot of outdoor debris, it may be necessary to change them more often.
A blocked air filter can restrict air to the furnace ignitor, causing it to fail to light. Be sure to check the furnace's air filter to ensure that it's not clogged with dirt and debris. If it is, replace the filter and try turning on the pilot light. If it still doesn't work, move on to other steps.
Issues with the ignition source
Whether your Goodman furnace has a pilot light or an electronic ignition source, always refer to the owner's manual before attempting to troubleshoot any ignition issues.
If the unit has an electronic igniter switch, the switch may be malfunctioning and need replacement. These switches are made with a very light metal alloy material that can burn out over the years.
And if you have a pilot light, you may be able to light it manually, depending on the furnace model. Of course, you'll want to use extreme caution when attempting this method, as you don't want to cause an explosion from gas surrounding the furnace that hasn't dissipated.
If there is a strong draft in your attic or basement, this can also cause the pilot light to have issues. Also, if your furnace has a draft motor or a blower that is malfunctioning or dead, the pilot won't light.
The purpose of the draft motor is to pull in and blow out air from your chimney or vent. But similar to other furnace components, the motor can malfunction over time.
Blocks in your chimney or furnace can also prevent the motor from pulling in the air. And as a result, the igniter will fail to light. When the draft motor is working properly, you should hear a slight hum. And if there is a blockage, you may hear a muffled hum and smell of burning fumes.
High limit switch has been tripped
The limit switch on your furnace is responsible for shutting down the furnace if it becomes too hot during operation. For example, sometimes, a clogged air filter can cause a furnace to overheat, and as a result, the limit switch shuts off the unit all to avoid fire hazards.
When the limit switch trips, more like it's more likely due to air not being able to move through the system properly (which means that a filter change is necessary). Try changing the filter and resetting the furnace. And if this doesn't work, it's best to contact an HVAC technician.
Can you bypass a furnace ignitor?
There are some furnace models on which you can bypass the furnace ignitor. However, this is typically recommended for professionals only, as it can be very dangerous for you to do.
This usually involves using a lighter to trigger the flame sensor and start the furnace. If the flame sensor is also broken, this method will not work, however.
If you suspect any issues with the sensor you can try cleaning it with a small piece of fine-grit sandpaper (200 to 300-grit) or a mini hard-wired brush.
Check out how to bypass a furnace ignitor here:
How long should a furnace ignitor last?
On average, a furnace ignitor can last anywhere from four to seven years, depending on the furnace brand and model. The frequency of use will also play a role in how quickly the ignitor burns out as well.
The good thing about this is that you can replace the igniter without repairing or replacing the entire furnace.
Ignitors aren't that expensive compared to other furnace parts and can typically be purchased through a reseller a distributor for anywhere from $35 to over $150. Also, you can usually install this small part of yourself without having to hire an appliance technician.
How do I reset my Goodman furnace?
Resetting a Goodman furnace can be done in just a few steps. Let's take a look at them.
1. Reset the circuit breaker
First, start by locating the circuit breaker that corresponds to the furnace. Turn the switch for the furnace in the "off" position and then turn it back "on" after 5 seconds.
2. Unscrew and remove the access panel
Remove the access panel from the furnace to gain access to the internal components. Most panels will have a couple of screws on either side that will need to be unscrewed beforehand. After you and screw these fasteners, lift the panel and pull it off of the front of the furnace.
The position of the internal components will vary per the model of the Goodman furnace. If you can't locate the reset button after removing the panel, check your owner's manual.
It's usually located near the limit switch—either on the right or the left of it. Once you find it, press and hold it down for a few seconds or the time recommended in the instructional manual.
And that's it. You've just reset your Goodman furnace.
How do you test a Goodman furnace ignitor?
Testing the furnace ignitor is a reasonably simple process. Let's take a look at how it's done.
1. Turn off the furnace
To turn off the furnace, place the thermostat in the "off" position.
2. Reset the circuit breaker to the unit
Next, head to the circuit breaker and switch it "off" and then back "on" to reset the power to the furnace.
3. Remove the front panel
Take a screwdriver and remove the screws on both sides of the front panel. Next, slide the panel up and away from the unit. You should see the furnace ignitor in front of the blower motor area, though it may be tucked away to the side in some models.
The furnace ignitor typically has two wires attached to its back as well as a flat metal clip on the side of it. It's usually about three inches in length.
4. Remove the ignitor
Take a close look at the igniter and check for any visible damage. If the igniter looks cracked, chipped, warped, or broken, you'll need to get a new one.
Remove the igniter using a pair of pliers. Be sure to place the pliers directly on the end of wires (on the plastic area) to remove them from their sockets.
Next, take a multimeter, set it to the lowest resistance possible, and then place the probes on the tips of the igniter plugs. If it shows a reading of "0" or "Infinity," the ignitor is broken and will need to be replaced.
What does a solid red light mean on my Goodman furnace?
Typically, when a Goodman furnace displays a solid red light, this is a good sign. This sign means that the furnace is running and is fully functional. However, if the light begins to flash, this is a sign that they are is an issue with one of its components.
Referring to the unit's user manual can help you interpret the error signs on the furnace in your efforts to fix them.
Wrapping Things Up
As you can see, there are a few reasons why a Goodman furnace may not ignite. However, many of the reasons are caused by the failure of internal components.
However, if the Goodman furnace is over 10 to 15 years old, the chances are that the furnace has simply run its course, and it may be best to replace the entire unit.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: