Hot surface igniters work like a light bulb filament, except in this instance the it's the element's heat as opposed to the light that is most important. The hot surface igniter is usually made from silicon carbide or silicone nitrade and as electricity passes through the igniter, it will glow red hot and ignite the fuel.

Under normal conditions the igniter should last for 3-5 years. However, it will eventually crack and need replacement. If handled improperly the oils from your skin get on the element and the life will be shortened. So take extra care when handling to prevent this from happening.

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