Lately, you may have noticed that the air coming from your home's furnace is not as hot as it should be. If your home has a newer gas furnace, it most likely has an electric ignitor instead of a pilot light. While the electrical ignition system is considered safer, like any unit part, it could fail and cease to work properly.
Since there is no pilot light that you can plainly see, you need to look more carefully to determine whether your furnace's issue with blowing cold air is caused by the ignitor. Below are a couple of the things for which you can look when trying to ascertain whether the furnace's ignitor is failing.
1. Furnace Start to Short-cycle While Blowing Cold Air
One sign that your gas furnace electric ignitor is going bad is when you start to notice that the system shuts off prematurely, which is referred to as short cycling. Before the furnace kicks off, you will notice that the air coming out of your vents barely gets above room temperature.
Normally, if a furnace short cycles, there may be a lack of airflow or the motor is overheating. However, you will usually still have hot air coming from the furnace. However, if the gas is not igniting, you will not feel any warm air because the burner was never lit. The system will shut off, and because the set thermostat setting was never reached, it will kick back on soon after.
2. Ignitor Fails to Glow When the Furnace Kicks On
Another sign for which you can look when trying to determine if there is an issue with the furnace's ignitor is a lack of a glow on the part when the furnace kicks on. Normally, when the furnace starts feeding gas to the line, the ignitor will glow and become hot enough to ignite the gas burner. However, if there is a problem with the ignitor, it will either not glow brightly or at all. You can open the access panel and wait for the furnace to kick on to observe whether or not the tip of the ignitor glows.
If you suspect that the furnace's electric ignitor is going bad, you will most likely need to replace it. However, this is not considered a do-it-yourself task since it involves working with both gas and electricity. Contact an HVAC contractor near you who performs furnace repairs to have them do the job for you.