The hot surface igniter is the most commonly used electronic ignition system used today. The reason is they are reliable, inexpensive and the electronic controls they require are also less expensive. All they require is a flame sensor to detect the igniter glow and open the main burner valve.
The hot surface igniter works like a light bulb filament. The hot surface igniter is usually made from a material like silicon carbide or nitride and as electricity passes through the igniter, it will glow red hot.
Under normal conditions the igniter should last for 3-5 years. However, it will eventually crack and need to be replaced, quicker if the oils from your skin get on the element by improper handling. Just like a light bulb, the filament does not last forever and these igniters fail.
Possible Reasons for HSI Failure
- Premature failure due to improper handling (oil from skin got onto element)
- End of normal usage life cycle (keep replacement on hand)
- Improper igniter
- Electric current in the home is too high (over 125 VAC)
- Dirty filter or squirrel cage.