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Before the advent of hot surface ignitors, gas furnaces used spark ignition. A small pilot flame burned all year, with gas flowing only when necessary.

These ignitors are constructed of silicon carbide or silicon nitride and feature ceramic bases to insulate wire connections. Operating voltage range is 80 to 240 V DC.

1. Long Lifespan

Hot surface igniters are essential parts of gas furnaces, as they light the burners inside your furnace and create flames that shoot into your heat exchanger tubes – much like dancing! A proper ignitor is key in making sure this process goes as smoothly as possible.

Once installed and optimized for your furnace, an igniter should provide reliable service for many years. However, its lifespan depends on a number of factors including usage frequency, the presence of contaminants on its ignitor and power used to charge it.

At first, all hot surface igniters were made of silicon carbide – a sparkly gray material similar to whetstones for sharpening knives – running on 120v and being quite fragile, they often broke if exposed to too much heat or dropped by technicians; some believe oils on technicians’ hands caused these breakages – though there is no concrete proof of this theory.

Silicon nitride (SN) igniters are much more durable, often outlasting older SC igniters by two to seven times or more. Many furnace manufacturers now utilize SN ignitors in new furnaces; upgrades for existing systems may also be purchased as an upgrade option.

There are also other factors that can reduce the lifespan of hot surface igniters, most notably excessive voltage. HSIs need to be charged between 80 and 240 volts; any higher could cause their ignitors to break prematurely and contact should be made with their power company to reduce it accordingly.

An ignitor that has become contaminated can quickly breakdown, as this occurs when dust, fiber glass insulation, sealants or rust accumulate on its surface. To function effectively and avoid premature breakdown, your ignitor must remain free of contaminants such as these.

2. Extremely Durable

Silicon carbide igniters offer numerous advantages over traditional pilot lights in terms of durability and lifespan, typically lasting for several years with minimal to no maintenance requirements. Furthermore, their quick heating capabilities allow them to ignite fuel quicker than other sources while being much safer due to no gas leakage hazards or hazard potential.

Hot surface igniters traditionally were composed of fragile gray sparkly material which was easily breakable when exposed to water or oil from your hands, leading many HVAC contractors to bring along spare silicon carbide igniters on every call in case one was broken during activation. Today however, more robust silicone nitride igniters have taken its place as standard hot surface igniters.

These more rugged igniters can withstand extreme temperature variations that arise during furnace startup and shutdown cycles without cracking, losing calibration or experiencing thermal shock. Furthermore, SN igniters are resistant to expansion, vibration and gas turbulence within the furnace, as well as expansion, vibration and gas turbulence within it. Their smooth non-porous surface requires less energy consumption compared to SC style igniters, leading to them outliving them two to seven times!

Nitride silicone igniters offer strength for outdoor environments where harsh conditions exist, making them more reliable, cost-effective and long-lasting than old silicon carbide models. Installed easily like any original, these replacement igniters make an excellent upgrade option that can replace older igniters in similar fashion.

Nitride silicone igniters make an excellent upgrade option for customers with older style igniters in their furnaces, eliminating the need for perforated barrels and modernizing the appliance’s look while saving energy bill costs over time – two to seven times longer lifespan means significant savings over the long haul!

3. Extremely Efficient

Ceramic igniters used in furnaces must reach an operating temperature quickly in order to ignite the burners, and Silicon carbide is an ideal material to do this with due its shapeability in small spaces and excellent thermal conductivity; its fast heating time reduces energy use while improving energy efficiency and lowering utility bills.

Current igniters used in most furnaces are extremely fragile and often break during shipping and installation. Made of fragile silicon carbide material, they are susceptible to cracking when exposed to grease or dirt and should always be protected with foam rubber packaging for maximum protection from breaking. Furthermore, too much voltage exposure may cause them to burn out prematurely resulting in replacement being necessary more frequently than anticipated.

Silicon carbide igniters consist of resistance elements shaped in an M or spiral pattern and connected to a ceramic base, with wires connected via cables attached at their tips. Once exposed to voltage causing heat-up, it glows orange. Most silicon carbide igniters can handle between 80-240V; any more and they could break, not providing sufficient heating power needed for lighting furnace fuel.

To limit this effect, the HSI is given an injection of nitrogen following its initial firing, to reverse or compensate for an undesirable increase in room temperature resistivity that occurs with aluminum being added to silicon carbide and increase in room temperature resistivity due to adding aluminum into silicon carbide. Furthermore, this change also decreases elevated temperature resistivity so as to reach its optimum heat up point more quickly.

Another key feature of the new igniter is its monolithic structure, eliminating the need for supporting devices. Furthermore, its relatively large surface area and low oxygen content enable quick heating up times and fuel combustion rates at high rates; its hairpin configuration and larger cross section help prevent premature burning out of its legs.

4. Low Maintenance

Silicon carbide igniters have long been used to light furnaces, stoves and boilers. They offer several advantages over traditional pilot lights such as reduced energy usage and enhanced safety; furthermore, these igniters can operate across a wide temperature range with great longevity.

Insulating ceramic bases of igniters provide protection from any heat produced during combustion processes, and insulate wire connections attached to it. Most igniters resemble sticks with M shapes in them – though other shapes can also be available – when voltage is applied, the carbide element glows for a short while until gas is poured onto it and ignited, saving both time and money by cutting wasteful pilot light usage in half.

Hot surface igniters (HSI) typically last years without needing servicing or replacement, though there are certain circumstances which may shorten that lifespan prematurely – the primary one being overexposure to higher than necessary voltage levels; if an HSI receives 120V instead of 80, for example, it will likely fail much earlier than expected.

Contamination can also have a dramatic impact on HSI longevity. Contaminants include rust, fiberglass fibers, sheetrock dust and dirt which could settle onto its spark tip and short out. Field experts often advise keeping its environment as free from debris as possible in order to minimize this possibility.

When an HSI is improperly installed into a system, it can eventually crack or break. A cracked HSI will no longer generate sufficient heat to ignite gas for ignition; thus it should be promptly replaced as soon as possible.

To ensure an HSI is installed efficiently in a system, it’s vital that it be done so by qualified professionals. They will make sure it matches up well with your heating system and is installed efficiently – helping extend its lifespan and ensure long-term performance of the device.

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