How To Light A Gas Furnace With An Electronic Ignition [Step By Step Guide]

Any furnace that burns natural gas or propane typically has this electronic igniter that continuously burns and ignites the gas when the appliance's controls send fuel to the main burners. Wondering how to light this kind of furnace? Well, we’ve researched this matter to give you the detailed guidelines you need.

To light a gas furnace with electronic ignition, the steps are:

  1. Switch the thermostat into the lowest mode. 
  2. Turn the furnace completely off.
  3. Remove the burner door.
  4. Turn off the igniter.
  5. Re-light the igniter.
  6. Install the burner door.
  7. Turn the gas furnace with electronic ignition back on.

In this article, we will elaborate on the aforementioned steps. Also, we will share with you some tips in case it doesn't work out after trying to light up a gas furnace. So keep on reading.

A hands working on furnace, How To Light A Gas Furnace With An Electronic Ignition [Step By Step Guide]

How Does Electronic Ignition Work?

The electronic ignition system is less sophisticated and potentially simple to learn than other kinds of ignition systems. The ignition switch is turned on, and it starts working as soon as the engine starts. The battery provides electricity since the positive terminal is wired to the ignition switch, and the negative terminal is grounded.

Three natural gas burners with bright blue flames inside an operating gas furnace

The ignition coil has two windings (primary and secondary). The primary winding is thicker than the secondary winding, but both windings are insulated. Between them is an iron rod that contributes to the creation of a magnetic field. 

As the armature rotates and is coupled to the electrical module, magnetic pickup takes place. The voltage signal is produced when the magnetic pick-up and armature make contact. It continues to generate until a powerful voltage signal appears.

The voltage is delivered to the distributor, which has distributor points that are adjusted in accordance with the ignition timing and a rotor that revolves. The voltage jumps through the air gap from the rotor to the distributor point when the rotor passes in front of one of the distributor points. 

It is subsequently transmitted via the high-tension cable to the nearby spark plug terminal. The combustion then takes place as a result of the spark that is produced at the spark plug's tip due to the voltage differential created between the ground electrode and the center electrode.

How To Light A Gas Furnace With An Electronic Ignition?

Gas water heater furnace

Even a moderate breeze can cause the pilot light in some furnace systems to go out, leaving a homeowner without heat even when the thermostat is turned up. Fortunately, learning how to start a furnace pilot light is a simple process.

When you need them the most, furnaces frequently don't cooperate. Naturally, if you give it some thought, this makes sense since the winter is the season when furnaces work the most and might exhibit signs of aging and wear and tear.

Pilot lights on older furnaces may be manually lit whenever they went out. In gas furnaces that use electrical ignition, things are different. There is no longer a manual lighting option; therefore, you will need to try a new strategy which will be discussed below.

1. Switch The Thermostat Into Lowest The Mode 

Man at home adjusting thermostat with device on the wall

Start by checking your thermostat. Set the thermostat to the lowest setting. You're taking this step to help the furnace gradually return to normal operation later.

2. Turn The Furnace Completely Off

At this point, you can entirely turn off the power to the furnace once you're through with the thermostat. It's a good idea to turn off the gas furnace, but you might want to take more action. It would be preferable to completely shut off the machine since it uses both gas and electricity.

Find the circuit switch for your furnace, then flip it off. Turn off the main circuit if you can't find the circuit switch for your furnace.

3. Remove The Burner Door

You must locate the burner door in order to accomplish it. Burner doors with electronic ignition are not usually located in the same location, making finding them tiresome. 

However, you'll often find it at the furnace's base. Take assistance from the manual to help you through this if you're still lost. If you are able to figure it out, put it aside while you finish the other tasks.

4. Turn Off The Igniter

Now that the burner door has been removed, it's time to turn off the igniter. As directed in the user manual, turn off the igniter. Sometimes the manual refers to the igniter as a control knob and generally marks "On," "Off," and "Pilot," and so turns it to the "Off" position. 

At least five minutes should pass. This is crucial to prevent the possibility of a fire beginning since it gives the gas time to disperse. While you wait, note where the reset button is; it should be close to the dial you just set to "Off."

5. Re-Light The Igniter

Turn the knob to "Pilot" when the gas has had time to disperse, then hold down this button while bringing the flame of a long lighter up near the pilot light aperture. Wait a few minutes. Release pressure on the pilot and see that the pilot is still burning then turn the knob to “On.”

Click here to see this long nose lighter on Amazon.

6. Install The Burner Door Back Again

Place the burner door back in its proper place now. Take care when grabbing it, and pay attention as you fix it. Make sure it is positioned correctly. Any carelessness might have damaging results, and the worst case being the furnace might not work.

7. Turn The Gas Furnace With Electronic Ignition Back On

Everything is almost completed. What is left over is merely enough to re-energize the furnace. Turn on the furnace and give it full access to the gas and electricity so it can work. Remember to set the thermostat to the right setting. And after that, watch as the pilot light glows enchanted.

If you're doing something for the first time, it may sometimes be helpful to see someone else do it. The video below on YouTube will guide you through the steps of re-lighting a gas furnace with electronic ignition.

What To Do If the Pilot Light Still Doesn't Light?

Suppose you followed the preceding instructions, but even after adjusting the thermostat, you are still not receiving heat. There are several options you can do.

Do It Again

If restarting the pilot light does not function initially, it’s worth trying again to see whether it would generate more successful outcomes the second time around. Do not be concerned about attempting to restart the erratic pilot light. Even if you do that, your gas furnace with electronic ignition won't be harmed.

Check The Gas Level

Check your gas levels if your pilot light is weak or won't burn continuously. The furnace's gas reservoir could not have enough fuel. The supply tank's pressure gauge can be used to determine simply by looking at it.

Regulate Any Draft

Sometimes a draft you weren't aware of causes the pilot light to continuously go out. Re-lighting your pilot light might work, just give it some time. Hold your hand close by if you notice it beginning to flicker to feel for any air movement.

Tighten Or Replace Thermocouple

If your pilot light keeps going out, it can be a sign that your thermocouple is damaged or loose. Your thermocouple has to be tightened if this is the case, or it needs to be changed.

Click here to see this thermocouple on Amazon.

Clean Dirty Burners And Air Filters

Dirt across the burners can shut off the supply of oxygen required for the burners to light. So cleaning is a must. Also, if the air filters in your furnace are unclean, they might not be able to function properly.

While you are inspecting your gas furnace, check those air filters. They might very possibly be the cause of the gas furnace's malfunction, so if necessary, clean them.

Clean The Sensor/Igniter

If your gas furnace's igniter is not operating properly, it might be because of igniters covered in dirt that lead it not to function as intended.

Make sure your furnace is switched off before cleaning the igniter. You can do this by flipping the switch on the furnace or by cutting the electricity at the breaker box. Then look for the igniter. It is the metal rod with a wire attached that is directly in the burner's path. 

Attempt to remove the igniter by unscrewing it and withdrawing the wire. Use steel wool or sandpaper to clean the igniter's surface. After cleaning, put it right back where it was taken.

It is possible to clean the igniter, but if you have never done it before, it can be challenging. If you clean the igniter improperly, it could become damaged. Calling the experts is a wise move if the igniter needs to be cleaned properly.

Replace The Worn Out Flame Sensor/Igniter

Gas burns in water heater

Another possibility is that your furnace's igniter is outdated and worn out. At this time, replacing it is preferable to solve this furnace issue. 

Click here to see this gas furnace igniter on Amazon.

Contact Experts

Technician looking over a gas furnace

If you're having ongoing issues with your gas furnace with electronic ignition, calling in the experts is advised. As we already mentioned, if the igniter needs to be cleaned, the experts can take care of it. The pros can also handle other significant problems that can be impacting your gas furnace.

Final Thoughts

Although you won't need to light the furnace pilot light very often, you should be able to do it if you need to. Your home will quickly become warm and comfortable as long as you follow the instructions for lighting a gas furnace above.

Before leaving, check out some interesting furnace topics below.

Furnace Working But Not All Burners Lighting – What To Do?

Furnace Running But Not Heating – What Could Be Wrong?

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