How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Furnace Ignitor?
Average Cost of Furnace Ignitor Replacement
Homeowners typically pay between $120 to $225 to have the ignitor replaced on their furnace. If the unit is still under warranty, you’ll only pay for labor which runs around 2 hours total and cost around $150.
This includes the cost of diagnosing the repair, the furnace ignitor itself, removal and replacement, as well as testing and all labor costs.
Overview of a Furnace Ignitor
The majority of gas furnaces, both natural gas and propane, are fired by an ignitor rather than a pilot light. The ignitor (or igniter) is typically a hot surface ignitor (HSI). It is also referred to as a glow plug or glow bar because electric resistance causes the ignitor to glow red-hot, about 1200 F, to ignite combustion.
With age, the ignitor wears out or cracks. Continuity is reduced or broken, and the ignitor must be replaced. This can usually be discovered during annual maintenance and testing as well as a visual inspection. Learn more about furnace maintenance costs here.
The cost of furnace ignitor replacement is affordable enough that many homeowners have it done pre-emptively during regular furnace cleaning and maintenance or do it themselves at a convenient time. This can help prevent waking up to house with no heat during the coldest weather of winter.
This cost estimate page, or Costimate, discusses this common furnace repair. Cost factors, the retail cost of an ignitor and whether the job is DIY are covered.
You’ll also find costs from other estimating sites. Some of the estimates given are based on emergency repair (nights/weekends) costs, so are on the high end. Prices submitted by homeowners who have had the repair made are also included.
Other Common Furnace Repairs
Project Cost Details
Replacement Parts Price Factors
There are just a few simple factors that determine furnace ignitor replacement cost.
- Standard vs Emergency Repair – This is the most significant cost factor. When a technician has to come out at night or during the weekend, the labor rate might be two to three times more than rates during normal business hours. The cheapest time to have the repair made is during scheduled furnace cleaning and maintenance.
- Ignitor Type – Most are universal, but if an OEM part is used, the cost might be higher.
- Ignitor or Ignitor Kit – Typically just the ignitor with a short wire lead and plug is replaced, and cost is lower. If the entire assembly including longer wiring and mounting brackets is replaced, the part cost and labor cost will be higher.
- Igniter Access – Reaching the igniter is usually easy once the furnace panel has been removed. However, some disassembly is required on a few furnace brands, and this will increase the labor portion of the repair cost.
- Furnace Access – Cost is higher for repairs made to furnaces that are difficult to reach – in an attic or cramped crawlspace, for example.
- Whether the Part is Under Warranty – Most furnace warranties are 5 or 10 years on general parts. However, labor isn’t covered after the first year (if at all), and labor is the major portion of this furnace repair cost. The part is so inexpensive that warranty claims are rarely made. They’re more hassle than they’re worth for a $25 part.
- Cost of Living – In large metropolitan areas, especially in the Northeast and on the West Coast, everything costs more. Costs are average in cities of the Midwest and South and tend to be lowest in rural areas and small towns.
Cost of Installation Supplies
Furnace ignitors are inexpensive and widely available online and from hardware and home improvement stores. Most are manufactured by third-party parts makers like Emerson, White Rodgers and Honeywell. You’ll also see those made specifically for Carrier, Rheem, etc.
- $15 – $35 | Universal hot surface ignitor only
- $24 – $90 | OEM/Furnace brand hot surface ignitor only
- $50 – $75 | Complete universal ignitor assembly with brackets (not typically required)
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | A permit is not needed to replace a furnace ignitor
Related Costs and Installation Time
The table near the top of the page shows total cost for both DIY and professional installation.
If you do the job yourself, which is discussed below, you’ll save HVAC labor rates. The repair takes less than an hour, but most companies charge a minimum of one hour of labor, which ranges from $65 to $125.
Install Time Schedule
Replacing an ignitor is one of the easiest repairs a furnace technician makes.
- 15 to 45 minutes | Replace a gas furnace ignitor
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Quite a few years ago, as a first-time homeowner, my furnace “quit.” It would go through the start-up sequence but then not fire – an obvious case of a failed ignitor.
Not knowing much about furnaces then, I called a local heating company. The next day a young technician came out, and I watched him test and replace a bad ignitor. He was done in about 20 minutes. I handed him a good chunk of money, and he left. I couldn’t believe I’d just paid that much for such an easy fix. Lesson learned!
So, yes, this is a DIY repair for anyone with basic skills that wants to give it a try.
Diagnosing a bad igniter: Here’s the sequence you should hear and see when your furnace starts.
- Thermostat calls for heat
- The inducer/draft motor comes on
- The hot surface ignitor begins to glow
- The gas valve opens, feeding gas through the manifold to the ports, and the gas ignites
If your ignitor is bad, Steps 1 & 2 will take place. But the ignitor won’t get hot.
Then, Step 4, the gas valve will open with a “click” sound, and you might hear gas rushing through the valve. But if there is no ignition, the flame sensor won’t sense heat, and it will signal the gas valve to close.
To DIY, watch a good tutorial video, and then take your bad ignitor to the parts store to get a matching replacement or find a replacement online.
Then follow the basic installation steps, turn the power on and fire up your furnace.
This tutorial video shows how to 1. diagnose the issue, 2. check for continuity in the igniter to confirm it is bad, and then 3. replace it. The video is longer than it will take the handiest among you to replace the igniter once you get the new part.
What do you think? Cast your vote below – DIY or NO?