I have sold and replaced many wood pellet stove ignitors that failed. Here are some tips on care and replacement and how to test for failure.
Obviously if the stove does not start on it's own anymore, then most likely the ignitor is bad, but here is really what to look for and how to make it last longer!
Remember the ignitor's job is to superheat the air coming into the ignitor tube. This hot air will set the pellets in the fire pot on fire.
To ignite corn the wattage of an Ignitor must be very high such as 525 watts. Otherwise most ignitors that are between 250 and 350 watts only light wood pellets. In the case of corn and a lower wattage ignitor, wood pellets must be used to start the fire.
1. Regular periodic maintenance called PM in our workshop.
When doing your annual stove cleaning, it is good to pull the ignitor.
To do this, just unclip the electrical wires and use the correct wrench to loosen and remove the ignitor from it's housing.
See pics 1 & 2 (Magnum Baby CountrySide and other stoves use an open end wrench. Englander uses a socket wrench and other stoves use an allen wrench)
You can test the ignitor two ways
a. Put a multi-meter on it and measure approx 40 to 50 ohms
b. Use a AC test cord and plug the ignitor into the wall outlet, then check to assure it glows. See pic 3 (Be careful it does get hot enough to burn your skin!)
If it does not light or measures infinity (Open Circuit) the ignitor should be replaced.
See our web site pages for your ignitor replacement
Just because the Ignitor works, it may not be good enough to light your pellets properly.
Therefore you must also do the following.
1. Clean the Ignitor
I use a wire brush to remove any buildup and acetone to clean it off. (See pic 6)
Since the Magnum Baby CountrySide igniter was straight, just cleaning it brought the startup time down to 6 min 30 secs and barely any smoke!
It took much longer before cleaning and the firebox filled up with smoke!
2. Check straightness and in tube alignment. If not straight or aligned there can be much more smoke during start up.
Check the ignitor alignment and how straight the ignitor is. (See pic 4 & 5)
The ignitor must reside in the center of the ignitor tube so if it does not then check the following:
a. The ignitor is bent at the end and must be replaced
b. The nut or bolt that holds the ignitor in must be loosened and ignitor straightened and the bolt be retightened.
I have seen the alignment be off on the Englander 25-PDV and 25_PDVC units,
so it takes a lot longer than 4 or 5 minutes to set the pellets on fire or not at all!
Also do not forget to clean the ignitor tube and air inlet hole
Clean the ignitor tube with a small bottle brush. (See pic 7)
Clean the air inlet hole and/or air inlet hose with a pipe cleaner. (See pic 8)
As one final test to check the performance of your ignitor:
Time how long it takes from pressing the pellet stove's on button to the time the pellets ignite or fire starts.
Usually 4 to 5 minutes is really good but it can take up to 8 to 10 mins. It is best to check your time with another stove of the exact same make and model.
Since ignitors can burn out at anytime, like on a snowy cold weekend, it is great to have spare ignitor on hand.