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How Much Does Furnace Ignitor Replacement Cost?

Last Updated on February 6, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

A properly functioning ignitor is essential for lighting the furnace burner and providing heat to your home. Ignitor failure is one of the most common reasons for furnaces not turning on. Catching and replacing a bad ignitor quickly can prevent costly issues and keep your household warm all winter long.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about furnace ignitor replacement cost.

How Much Does Furnace Ignitor Replacement Cost?

Replacing a faulty furnace ignitor can be an expensive repair, with costs ranging from $300 to $500 on average when accounting for both parts and professional installation, based on factors like the complexity of the job and whether it is an emergency job or a scheduled one.

According to Today’s Homeowner, the furnace ignitor part itself is around $25–$50. The same website states that the cost of replacing a furnace ignitor, including parts and labor, will cost around $300–$425 for a qualified technician.

Staton Heating says that the igniter costs no more than $30 to $50. The labor cost is approximately $75 to $100, and at times, parts and services can go up to $250 to $300.

Wolcott writes that heat exchanger/furnace igniter costs can vary from as little as $100 for a simple fix to as much as $1,500 for a full replacement.

A user discussion on Houzz revealed that the price for an ignitor replacement was reported as $110 for labor and the part, and $105 for service contract customers.

Why Replacing Your Ignitor Matters

When an ignitor cannot glow hot enough to light the furnace burner, your heating system will fail to start up and provide warmth. Some common signs of a faulty ignitor include:

  • Furnace won’t turn on and no burner ignition
  • Loud clicking noise but no flame
  • Burner lights but shuts off after a few seconds
  • Repeatedly cycles on and off without heating

Ignoring a bad ignitor will leave you with no working heat for your home. Timely replacement is important to restore a fully functioning furnace and prevent damage from freezing temperatures or pipes bursting.

How Furnace Ignitors Work

Furnaces have two main types of ignitors that require replacement when faulty:

  • Hot surface ignitors – Made of ceramic material that heats up to light the burner. Prone to cracking.
  • Spark electrode ignitors – Generate an electric arc spark to ignite the gas. Tips can wear down over time.

In both cases, the ignitor has to reach high enough temperatures or generate sufficient spark to initiate gas combustion. As ignitors age and degrade, they lose this ability.

The ignitor is triggered each time the furnace is signaled to turn on through the thermostat. It has to relight the furnace flame each heating cycle. Given this continual usage, ignitors wear out over time.

Breakdown of the Cost of Replacing a Furnace Ignitor

Replacing an ignitor involves two primary costs:

  • Parts – The ignitor unit itself, wiring, and any connectors. Ranges from $50 to $300.
  • Labor – Cost for a technician’s time and work replacing the ignitor. Ranges from $200 to $400 on average.

Total costs for professional ignitor replacement commonly range from $300 to $500 once parts and labor are included. However, prices can vary based on:

Parts Cost Differences

The specific model and brand of your furnace largely determines the ignitor replacement part cost. Less expensive ignitors may be as low as $50, while more complex integrated ignitor assemblies can exceed $300. Older furnace models may also have discontinued ignitors requiring custom ordering.

DIY vs Professional Labor

Replacing an ignitor yourself provides significant cost savings on labor. HVAC technician service call and labor fees often range from $75 to $150 per hour. If the job takes 1-3 hours, you save $200+ typically. However, DIY repair is not always straightforward.

Complexity and Accessibility

The repair difficulty varies by furnace model. Accessing and replacing some ignitors is simple, while on other models major disassembly is required. More complex configurations can increase labor time and cost.

Emergency vs Scheduled Repair

Paying for expedited same day service for emergency heating repairs costs $100-$200 more on average. Scheduling the ignitor replacement in advance saves significantly.

You might also like our articles about the cost of dishwasher installation, HVAC duct replacement, and mailbox installation.

With the right DIY skills and preparation, replacing a furnace ignitor can cost under $150. But for older complex furnaces, paying a professional $300+ for parts and installation may be the better option. Understanding your specific scenario will help evaluate costs.

Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Furnace Ignitor Replacement

Furnace Ignitor ReplacementWith the proper tools and safety measures, replacing a bad furnace ignitor is a DIY project many homeowners can tackle. Follow these key steps:

Gather Necessary Materials and Tools

  • Manufacturer approved replacement ignitor for your furnace model
  • Protective eyewear, gloves, long sleeves for safety
  • Multimeter to test electrical continuity
  • Various screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Sandpaper and steel brush for cleaning contacts

Turn Off Power and Gas to Furnace

Shut off the gas valve and turn off power at the breaker. Verify gas and electricity are truly disconnected.

Access the Ignitor

Carefully disassemble furnace panels and components to access the ignitor. Refer to manufacturer disassembly instructions.

Disconnect and Remove Old Ignitor

Label and disconnect any wiring. Remove mounting screws and detach the ignitor. Note its orientation.

Clean Electrical Contacts

Use sandpaper and a wire brush to clean oxidization on the ignitor wiring terminals.

Install New Ignitor

Attach wiring on the new ignitor per diagram instructions. Secure it in the same aligned position.

Reassemble Furnace

Replace any access panels, covers, and screws. Double check that all components are replaced correctly.

Restore Power and Gas

Turn the gas valve back to the open position first. Then restore power to the furnace circuit.

Test Operation

Set the thermostat to call for heat. Verify that the ignitor heats up properly and ignites the furnace burner.

With preparation and by following furnace-specific disassembly procedures, the average handy homeowners can replace their own ignitor. Just be sure to take all necessary safety precautions when working with gas appliances.

When to Pay a Pro for Furnace Ignitor Replacement

While DIY furnace ignitor replacement is possible for many, there are some scenarios where using a professional HVAC contractor is worth the added cost:

Complex Integrated Ignitor Assemblies – Newer furnaces often have ignitors integrated into sealed burner assembly boxes. Attempting to open these assemblies risks gas leaks and proper resealing is difficult without training.

Accessibility Challenges – Heavily obstructed ignitors buried below multiple components can be tricky to access. Professionals have the tools and know-how to work in tight spaces.

Unsure of Proper Electrical Connections – Diagnosing bad wiring, proper electrical polarity, grounding, and reconnecting ignitor terminals is best left to the experts. Improper connections can short circuit furnace components.

Still Under Manufacturer’s Warranty – Most original furnace warranties cover parts like ignitors. Utilizing warranty service avoids paying full costs outright. Always check eligibility before paying for repairs.

For those unsure about DIY replacement or with complex furnace models, professional installation for $300-$500 is likely the best option. Weigh costs against benefits.

Maintenance to Extend Furnace Ignitor Lifespan

Proper maintenance helps avoid premature ignitor failure. Recommended tips include:

  • Annually cleaning dust and debris from burner assembly and ignitor with compressed air should be part of your home improvement and maintenance tasks. Built-up dirt is a top cause of failure.
  • Inspect ignitor wiring and connections to ensure no cracking or corrosion. Faulty electrical contacts reduce ignitor longevity.
  • Check burner flame quality during annual inspections. Weak or abnormal flames make ignitor constantly overwork to ignite gas.
  • Replace furnace air filter per manufacturer recommendations, at least every 3 months. Dirty filters increase strain on ignitor triggering system.
  • Address any gas pressure issues with furnace repairs. Insufficient gas flow makes consistent ignition difficult.

With periodic cleaning, inspection, and preventive repairs, gas furnace ignitors can reliably last 5-10 years or longer, avoiding unexpected replacement costs. Proper care maximizes the lifespan of this critical furnace component.


Having to replace a faulty or dead furnace ignitor can be an unwelcome expense. But restoring proper ignition is essential for heating system operation through cold winters.

The cost to replace the furnace ignitor ranges from $300-$500 typically when accounting for both parts and professional installation. However, taking a DIY approach by purchasing just the ignitor itself for around $100 and replacing it yourself can yield significant savings on labor charges.

Or for those with difficult furnace models, paying for an expert technician may outweigh the higher costs. Use this guide to make an informed decision on how best to approach and budget for this crucial furnace repair. Stay warm!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my ignitor is bad on my furnace?

  • The furnace starts and the burner ignites initially, but it shuts off after 10-30 seconds. This points to a malfunction causing the ignitor to fail to stay hot enough to keep the flame lit.
  • The furnace turns on and off repeatedly without heating the home properly. As the ignitor loses functionality, it cannot sustain consistent ignition.
  • Visually inspecting the ignitor shows cracks, damage, or worn contacts. This physical degradation causes ignition failure.

If you notice any of these behaviors, it likely indicates a faulty ignitor that requires prompt replacement. Testing with a multimeter can also diagnose bad ignitors.

How long should a furnace igniter last?

Furnace igniters typically last between 5-10 years under normal use before requiring replacement. However lifespan depends on:

  • Igniter type – Spark igniters tend to last longer than hot surface igniters.
  • Furnace model – More complex integrated igniter systems may wear faster.
  • Usage and cycles – Furnaces in extremely cold climates see more annual usage, wearing igniters faster.
  • Maintenance – Poor cleaning/airflow accelerates debris buildup and igniter deterioration.
  • Installation quality – Improper electrode adjustment or electrical wiring reduces igniter lifespan.

With proper annual furnace maintenance and avoiding excessive cycling, most standard igniters should operate reliably for 7-8 years on average before needing replacement.

What causes an igniter to fail?

The most common causes of premature furnace igniter failure include:

  • Built-up dirt, dust and debris – Restricts airflow and makes igniter overheat trying to light burner.
  • Cracked ceramic on hot surface igniters – Causes open circuit and ignition failure.
  • Wear of spark electrode tip – Reduces sparking intensity needed for gas ignition.
  • Corroded or loose wiring – Causes insufficient electrical continuity to the igniter.
  • Flame sensor issues – Result in repeated cycling and igniter overuse trying to relight.
  • Furnace overfiring – Too much heat makes the igniter overwork.
  • Improper gas pressure – Makes it harder for igniter to light burner consistently.
  • Excessive ignition cycling – Leads to thermal fatigue as the igniter is overused.

With regular inspection and addressing age-related wear early, furnace igniters can often reach their expected lifespan. But unavoidable factors like debris buildup will eventually require replacement.

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