No Pilot Light in My Furnace?

December 10, 2018

If you’ve had a new furnace installed recently, you may be wondering “where is the pilot light?” when you’re looking at it for the first time. We’re so used to seeing pilot lights in our furnaces that it’s strange to think of beginning a winter season without lighting it.

Electronic Pilot Lights

But new furnaces don’t need pilot lights like older models did. Instead new furnaces use electronic ignition systems that ignite on demand, eliminating the need for a standing pilot light and making them safer, more reliable and energy efficient.

Intermittent Pilots

The first type of electronic pilot is the intermittent pilot, which doesn’t remain on all the time. Rather, it comes on only when the burner needs to be ignited. When the thermostat gets low and signals for heat, the pilot creates a spark which activates the burners and then shuts off when the heat cycle is complete. Since the pilot is only used as needed, less fuel and energy is consumed with the elimination of the traditional standing pilot light.

Hot Surface Pilots

The other, more common, form of electronic pilot is the hot surface igniter. The type of pilot requires no pilot light and works similarly to a light bulb. Made from silicon carbide and silicon nitride, it responds to an electric current sent through the igniter when the thermostat calls for heat and heats its surface. The gas valve then opens once enough heat is built up and gas flows to the burner where it is activated by the heat of the igniter.

Each type of electronic furnace ignition system will require replacement after a few years, so it’s important to keep regular maintenance scheduled for these systems. If you need maintenance scheduled for your electronic furnace pilot, contact Reddi HVAC today at 316-462-2572 to make sure your furnace is ready to keep you warm all winter long.