Silicon carbide igniters, commonly known as hot surface igniters, are an electrical component that is used in most new gas furnaces. Hot surface igniters are much like the filament of a light bulb, each time the furnace turns on, an electric charge is sent to the hot surface igniter reaching a searing temperature of roughly 2156OF-2426OF to ignite the gas burners of your furnace.
Life Expectancy of a Hot Surface Igniter
Under normal operating conditions, a hot surface igniter will last 3-5 years. During the heating season, the hot surface igniter can go through a tremendous amount of use. Furnaces cycle throughout a day to bring the home to the desired temperature set by your thermostat, hot surface igniters are energized through each furnace cycle. Most high efficient furnaces will cycle 3 times per hour whereas lower efficient furnaces can cycle as many as 6+ times per hour. In a year your hot surface igniter could be energized as over 20,000 times! Over time, through continued use, the filament of the hot surface igniter becomes brittle, and eventually breaks usually when you need it most.
Keep an Extra Hot Surface Igniter On Hand
Much better to have a hot surface igniter and not need one, than to need a hot surface igniter and not have one. There are numerous brands and models of furnaces, technology is changing every day. If you have an older furnace, it may take a while for a furnace contractor to locate a hot surface igniter specific to your furnace. Purchase an extra hot surface igniter for your specific brand and model of furnace to store at home it's a great insurance policy for a time of need.
Maintain Your Furnace, Filter and Air Ducts
While there is a standard life expectancy of a hot surface igniter, routinely maintaining your furnace through a HVAC company, changing your furnace filters, and keeping your air ducts clean will extend the life of your hot surface igniter as well as other furnace components.