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Ignite You? Ignite your Heating System! Gas Furnace Ignition….How does it work?

A few different systems

Every Gas furnace has some way of igniting the natural gas that flows into the system. In the old days furnaces were built with standing pilots. We see these from time to time now days and although standing pilot systems are reliable and relatively trouble-free, a continually burning pilot light is consuming gas needlessly. The amount of natural gas burned by a standing pilot varies depending on the design. But the typical household furnace burns about 750,000 cubic feet of gas per month. Money-wise that is about $6 – $10 a month.

Next is an Intermittent Spark Pilot Ignition. Basically it’s the same concept as a standing pilot but….intermittent. As soon as you call for heat by turning the dial on the thermostat up, the control module in the furnace sends a signal to the gas valve and a spark to the pilot assembly and lights up the pilot light. A thermocouple or flame sensing rod is heated (telling the furnace that the pilot is lit) and then the gas valve opens the main line to light the main burners to the furnace. It’s a little more efficient than a standing pilot, but only a step up.

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