Intermittent Surface Igniter Problem. HELP!


Old 02-08-04, 03:35 PM
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Intermittent Surface Igniter Problem. HELP!

I have a York Diamond 80 Gas Furnace that is approx 7 years old. I just replaced the hot surface igniter, since I could see it would work intermittently.

Now the problem gets worse. I replaced the hotsurface igniter and this is what happens:

1. Blower starts for gas side of furnace.
2. Hotsurface Igniter heats up or no action from the igniter
3. Hotsurface Igniter shuts off (prior to gas or ignition)
4. Gas starts blowing
5. Gas shuts off ---no heat I'm cold....

Because this is an intermittent problem, item #2 seems to more often responds with no action from the hotsurface igniter

Al the switches seem to be working OK, although I could be checking them incorrectly (I've tried Continuity while they're turned off and voltage on both sides to ground while the unit is on)

Finally, I've connected Red and White at furnace to override the thermostat.

My Question is: Is the circuit board bad? Could it be bad? Could I have gotten a second bad hotsurface igniter?
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Old 02-08-04, 08:49 PM
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Yes, could a fault on the circuit board or the wires leading to the igniter. You can easily check the voltage on the wires leading to the igniter - remove the igniter and probe the wires with a voltmeter. It should initially read 0V at the start of the heating cycle and then go to 120V at the point the igniter is due to go on. It should then hold at 120V until the furnace shuts down due to lack of ignition. If the 120V is intermittent check it again at the circuit board contacts. If it is still intermittent there you may need a new circuit board.

In reality you may be able to also fix the problem by resoldering all the pads on the circuit board. If the problem was due to a dry joint this may fix it.
Old 02-10-04, 05:47 PM
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intermittent heat

I have excatly the same problem (even our subject line was the same) Same model, same symptoms and same path of resolve. However mine started happening when I started messing around with the ducts. A new igniter didn't help. I'm afraid I'll have to take the hit and get a new circuit board. You can try this (which makes me wonder if it's still a draft situation)...the furnace works fine when I leave the access door off....go figure...good luck
Old 02-10-04, 05:58 PM
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Fixed it (I Think)

After speaking with a technician, I think I fixed it. If you check the igniter on the leads, he said you should get a 12-20 ohm reading on a multi-meter. Both the old one and new one were open, which means it's defective.

I replaced it a third time and now it seems to be working. It's been a little over 24 hours, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something isn't causing the igniters to fail. Thanks for everyones help. I hope this posts help others!
Old 03-13-04, 08:38 PM
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Worthless York

I just bought a brand-new 125% remodeled house with a York Diamond 80. My furnace has had the EXACT same problem as yours only mine is ~ 7 WEEKS old. The guys who initially installed it have been to my house 6... yes that's right 6 times to fix it. Same prob's - fan will not turn off (EVER - it's possessed) and ignitor will not turn on. Essentially, the guys would come over, it would work for anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 days.... and then the same problem again - fan won't stop, ignitor won't ignite and no heat. I'm not too familiar with home improvement (or the inner-workings of a furnace for that matter) but I know a bull****ter when I see one. These guys keep telling me it's fine but it's obviously not. They indicated that "All I have to do"... "is climb up in the attic every time I want to turn the heat on... and reset some sort of 'breaker' (That's really fun); I have tried to do this with no luck. The gas supply is fine but the ignitor never lights anymore. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be most appreciative. I have a bunch of pictures I could send as well.

Thank you

Old 03-13-04, 09:18 PM
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Perhaps you can be more specific about the problem. Which fan runs continuously - is it the flue fan or the fan that moves air around the home. What exactly happens - does the furnace ever light or when it is time for heat does the fan just start running and nothing else happens.

Firstly I would disconnect the thermostat and jumper the heat wire to verify operation in case the thermostat is activating the fan and heat inputs at the same time.

If this still produces the problem my suspicion would be on the control board. A normal controller would shut the furnace down if igition does not take place. You don't need a gas supply for the igniter to operate as it works off the electricity supply.

Not quite sure what the techs have been resetting (may the high limit). Even a faulty high limit should not cause this kind of symptom. In any case climbing into the attic and resetting "something" is clearly not the way to fix this.

Perhaps it is time to try another heating co?
Old 03-14-04, 11:50 AM
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I had a similar problem when I first got the unit, however, it would shut off. The problem was the little plastic piece that held the lower cover onto the unit (where the big fan is). I simple added a metal screw that held it more snuggly than the plastic.

I am definitely not an electricatian or a plumber, however, I agree with the last post. It sounds like an electrical problem.

If he's not replacing your hot surface igniter every time, that's probably not the problem.

I've spoken with several people about York furnaces and I'm told they're good units. I've had mine 9 years working great except for the above problem.

It was in fact solved by replacing the hotsurface igniter again. If anyone reads this post with this problem, try the solution I posted earlier to see if the hotsurface igniter is bad.

Good luck....
Old 03-14-04, 01:50 PM
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Thank you for both of your responses:

Rav -

Forgive my ignorance but I don't know what a 'flue' fan is. Essentially, air continuously flows through the entire house. As of now, the furnace NEVER lights. Also, the fan that circulates air through the entire house NEVER stops. No matter what (unless I unplug the unit from the wall). PS, the thermostat has been replaced 3x with different brand-new thermostats so I'm pretty sure that's not the problem.

You mention a control board - can you tell me what that looks like and where I might find it?

Cameadows -

You refer to a little plastic piece; is that the "eyehole-looking thing". I believe that's the only plastic piece on the lower section?
What does the hot-surface ignitor look like? Is it that thing behind where the gas flows through that is shaped like a triangle on its side? If it is, it worked a few times but no longer.

Thank you both for all of your time and tolerating the ignorant questions.

Old 03-14-04, 02:38 PM
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The flue fan is the fan that's used to exhaust the waste gases from combustion. It sound like you are referring to the main fan.

Has the wiring from the thermostat been checked at the furnace end. I'm sure that the thermostat itself is fine. That's the first thing to check.

If you follow the wiring from the thermostat to where it is connected inside the furnace you will find the control board. Troubleshooting it may not be too straightforward but you can wiggle the board/wires and see it this helps.
Old 03-14-04, 04:04 PM
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This what I would suggest you do.

Go down to the furnace, turn off the power..

MAKE NOTE of what wire go to where the wire go to on the t-stat.

Undo the wire from the t-stat. make sure the wires do not touch each other.

Turn the power on. the control board on the furnace may run a "Test" cycle. chances are the blower may turn on for a few min.

If the bower don't turn off after 3 - 5 minutes..

Turn turn power offf.

Make note of what wire go to where on the controal board in the furnace. It will be in the blower area.

Once the t-stat wires are removed from the board, You may have to tape a safety switch where the blower door push, then turn the power back on.

Give it 3-5 min, from the "test" cycle. If the blower turns off and sits dead. Then it may be a sign that you have a t-stat wire shorted or bad in the wall.

I would put a jumper on the control board between R and W, that should turn on the combution blower, and light the main burner. after a few min, the blower should come on.

Undo the jumper, let it cool down.

Jumper between R-G Fan should turn on High.

If everything checks out fine btween the jumper, then will have to take a look at the t-stat wire in the wall.
Old 03-29-04, 02:55 PM
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York 80 furnace.....yikes!

this will make you guys laugh...If you're familiar with the posts on this furnace model, and I'm not going to get into the long winded reiteration.....there are three venturis? on my furnace, the igniter glows, blah blah, you've heard it before...but the first venturi lights, so what the hell, I gave this a shot, I blew a puff in the direction of the other two that don't light consistantly....voila...they catch!, maybe it isn't the circuit board.....ideas?....the furnace cover is off and it's the only way it will run
Old 03-29-04, 04:21 PM
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Lightbulb "My Professional Opinion"

Hello: cameadows

I hope fixing the door safety switch on the blower compartment door did in fact fix the intial problem. Based on what I was reading and understanding in the probelm description, the safety switch was the most likely cause of the entire problem.

For some benefit to all, maybe I can shed some light on the terms used and the intents and functions of some componets used on newer model furnaces.

Door safety switch described and defined:

Door safety switch is the switch on the rim of the fan blower compartment door. Some switches may be white in color while others are not.

The purpose of the door safety switch is to ensure air does not get into blower compartment from the surrounding air in which the furnace is installed.

Examples of furnace locations:
Attic, Closet, Basement and or Garage.

Air must only get into blower compartment from inside the house and nowhere else to insure safety from fumes, etc. Hope this explains the switch and why it is installed.

Door safety switch must be fully closed to make good contact, if it is working correctly. When blower compartment door not correctly replaced, loose or vibrates loose, bent or for any reason does not fit well or closed fully and properly, full switch contact is not made.

When safety switch is not fully closed for any reason mentioned about etc, depending on furnace brand, all or some of the functions do not work. That ensures safety. Hope this helps explain the function of that switch.

Small blower fan used to power exhaust vent furnaces fumes. Also draws in air for combustion usage for the burners. Must be in operation or burners should not ignite.

In some models the glow ignitor will not glow if power venting fan is defective, runs to slowly, does not run at all or insufficient air volume and vacuum is not generated by power vent fan.


Hello: jvirtue

If you are blowing on the venturis or on the burners to get the other burners to ignite off the first burner, the cross over ports or slots on the burners themselves are blocked and or restricted.

The problem description you described is not a main computer board problem, electrical probel or most likely any other type of problem that a good burner cleaning cannot solve.

Clean the crossover ports or slots between the burners, problem solved. The cross over ports or slots are fins or wing like extentions on each burner that is between each burner. Once cleaned the burners will light from each other as they should.

BTW: (By The Way)..."My Two Cents"
York, as a specific brand mentioned, does make a quality furnace. As do many other furnace manufacturers. There are really not many mfgers left.

Any brand name label can be stuck on a furnace. Not all mfg build their own brand name units themselves. Others do it for them and to their specifications, slap on a label, built and sold.

Most use all the same componets made by only a handful of parts and componet mfg and suppliers. Brand names do not always insure better parts or componets used.

You can thank factory "downsizing" and parts "centeralizing" from a handful of part and componet builders for much of that....

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 03-29-04 at 04:33 PM.
Old 03-30-04, 03:44 AM
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thanks Sharp Advice....I work on a Mac too!!
Old 03-30-04, 11:44 AM
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With Sharp Advice here
Clean the crossover ports or slots between the burners, problem solved. The cross over ports or slots are fins or wing like extentions on each burner that is between each burner. Once cleaned the burners will light from each other as they should.
After the burners are cleaned and while they are on tap on each one with a screw driver some and see the other dust go up there in the flame when you do it. Set the burner so you have a soft blue flame not a hard one
If the burners have lit down in the venturi tube you think you have a jet in the basement. Get new burners.
Last If LP gas tilt the furnace just a litttle to the front so the gas will stay at the lighter strip to light

.02 cents more make .04 cents ED
Old 03-30-04, 02:24 PM
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thanks guys, you've been very helpful....true I always thought York was a reputable name but have read some bad things in this forum...I even contacted corporate offices to inform them.

I had to laugh, the 'professional' service technician I had in told me that it 'might' be the circuit board, but no guarantee he said his best advice was to buy a new furnace from him...'they're on special'

Old 06-02-04, 05:10 AM
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Hot Surface Ignitor Class Action

I know of a pending class acttion lawsuit involving alleged defective hot surface ignitors used in furnaces.

For more information contact [email protected]

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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 06-02-04 at 07:54 AM.
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