How to Spot Ignition Problems During Your HVAC Career

January 28, 2018

Gas heating is an effective way to keep a building warm, and though the technology behind it has gotten a little more elaborate over time, the core concept is pretty basic: introduce gas, strike a spark, and enjoy the warmth generated by the ongoing flame.

Of course, a problem with the ignition in this type of system can leave building occupants shivering, so it’s important to be proactive in finding and fixing these kinds of issues.

Curious about how you can spot ignition problems during your HVAC career? Here are some steps that you ought to follow.

Pros in HVAC Careers Know Frequent Cycling Can Point to Ignition Issues

When an HVAC system is working correctly, it won’t draw much attention from a building’s occupants. If the system detects the building is colder than it should be, the heat will kick in to raise the temperature to the necessary level. Once the correct temperature is reached, the system will shut itself off until it is needed again.

A faulty ignition reduces the amount of heat that the system can provide, and often leads to a much more frequent engagement and disengagement of the heating system. This is the kind of thing that people notice, so if you or the building’s occupants know that the system has been cycling much more frequently than normal, it’s a sign that something is probably wrong. It could just be a relatively minor issue, like a dirty air filter, but it’s also possible that the ignition is in need of service.

You Don’t Need an HVAC Diploma to Know a Pilot Light Going Out is a Bad Sign

Older gas heating systems have a pilot light, which is a flame that is left burning even when the heat isn’t properly engaged. These sometimes go out, and while reigniting them isn’t usually a problem, it does sometimes happen that a system just can’t keep its light going. Needless to say, this is a pretty important and obvious sign that something’s wrong with the ignition.

There are many reasons a pilot light might not be able to keep a flame. During your HVAC diploma, you will learn how everything from grime to malfunctioning regulators can create all kinds of issues that cause pilot lights to go out quickly.

That said, don’t forget that there can be simple, non-technical factors at play. One common problem is that there’s a draft blowing out the flame. Be ready to think outside the box when you approach these kinds of issues, and you’ll be able to handle pretty much anything you encounter.

HVAC skills and a healthy dose of common sense can help you solve most ignition problems

If the Blower Won’t Stop Running, Odds are Good That There’s an Ignition Problem

The blower in an HVAC system is basically just a fan that runs to deliver hot air through the system. It gets especially active when the upper heat limit is reached, engaging to flush the hot air and keep the system safe. If the blower does not stop running, it could be a sign that something has gone wrong with the ignition’s limiting switch and made the system think it is constantly overheating.

When you become an HVAC technician, you’ll likely find that it’s often little issues like these causing problems within HVAC systems. It may not always be clear what is at fault, however, which is part of why your education is so valuable.

The expert instructors running the program have years of experience dealing with just about every issue you can think of, and know the little tricks that can be used to sort out precisely what is going wrong in a system. Learn from them and you, too, can become capable of finding and fixing all kinds of HVAC problems.

A blower that won’t stop running could signal an ignition problem

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