close mobile menuClose Menu


  • What To Do If Your Ignition Light Is Malfunctioning?


  • February 15, 2021

    Your furnace, while one of the most helpful and cozy appliances of your home in the wintertime, it’s one you don’t think about very often. That is unless your furnace is malfunctioning.

    When something goes wrong with your furnace and the house becomes chilly, you may notice within a few hours. However, several problems can go wrong with your furnace. Even seemingly mundane issues could mean greater problems.

    Common furnace problems include your ignition light malfunctioning, your switches not working, and even a scraping noise. Learn about the most common issues with your furnace and what to do about them.

    Ignition & Light Issues

    Malfunctioning Ignition Light

    If you have a furnace with an ignition light and it’s malfunctioning, you likely have an issue with your furnace’s electrical panel. Try to turn the furnace off and reset the breaker. If that doesn’t fix the issue, you should reach out to an HVAC technician who can properly diagnose the issue and repair it. 

    Malfunctioning Pilot Light

    A pilot light is a flame that lights the burners in gas furnaces. This type of system is more common in older furnace models. When the pilot light goes out, it can cause your furnace not to work. A malfunctioning pilot light can be related to a variety of problems, including a defective ignition switch, damaged flame adjuster, issues with the heat sensor, and many other issues.

    However, If your pilot light is flickering or changing to a yellow color, it can be a sign that there’s extra carbon monoxide in your furnace.

    Extra carbon monoxide in your furnace can be caused by holes or cracks in your heat exchanger. This could be a serious health hazard for your family. Carbon monoxide poisoning sends hundreds of people to the hospital every year and can be deadly.

    If you suspect a gas leak, you should contact your HVAC/plumbing company and your local gas company immediately.

    Strange Noises

    Squealing Noise

    If you hear a squealing noise while your furnace is running, you may have a frayed or slipped blower belt. If you suspect the blower belt is slipped or broken, you should turn off the furnace and quickly inspect the blower belt. You’ll know immediately if there’s an issue.

    Luckily, this is a pretty easy solution. You simply have to pick up a new blower belt that fits your furnace system and install it in your furnace. If you’re not the DIY-type, an HVAC technician can efficiently install a new blower belt for you. They can also inspect the rest of your furnace system to let you know if other replacements or repairs are needed.

    Scraping Noise

    A scraping noise coming from your furnace likely indicates worn-out ball bearings. If you observe a scraping noise in your furnace, immediately shut it off and call an HVAC technician. Allowing that scraping noise to continue for too long can cause your entire system to break down. 

    Running Loudly

    If you notice that your furnace is simply louder than usual, that can indicate clogs and blocked airflow in the system. Changing the filter is a great way to prevent this. But, if it’s gotten to the point the furnace is running loudly, you may need to get the system cleaned by an HVAC professional.

    Strange Smells

    Musty Smell

    Most musty smells indicate mold. But a musty smell in your furnace at the beginning of the season is usually no big deal. What you’re actually smelling is the dust burning. An annual maintenance appointment and duct cleaning in the early Fall should help to avoid that smell and prolong the life of your furnace.

    Formaldehyde Smell

    If you smell formaldehyde coming from your furnace system, you may have a cracked or broken heat exchanger in your furnace system. If your system has a broken heat exchanger, your home can fill up with carbon monoxide and even catch on fire. If you smell formaldehyde and your furnace is running, turn it off and call an HVAC technician immediately.

    J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling

    J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling offers professional residential heating furnace repair services throughout Kootenai County. Our licensed furnace technicians cover all of North Idaho and our neighboring cities. Experience superior, award-winning service 24/7 by calling 1-800-FURNACE.