Lifespan of Pellet Stove Igniters

Pellet Stove Igniters are a tricky group of products.  I say this because they are not all built the same and they can be unpredictable in how long they last with a few exceptions.

The Pellet Stove Igniter used by Quadrafire pellet stoves fails the most frequently of any pellet stove igniter I know of.  A lot of my customers go through two a year.  However they are less than half the price of normal pellet stove igniters so I guess you get what you pay for.  It’s hard to say if the manufacturers of Quadrafire’s Pellet Stove igniters purposely make this igniter to fail so quickly or if they just don’t know how to make it better.

In any case, once you have bought a Quadrafire Stove you are stuck with their igniters and will be buying a lot of them if you heat your house with their stove.  As of this writing you can only get a replacement igniter from Quadrafire, there is no one else who makes a better one.

All other pellet stove companies (as far as I’ve seen) use a pellet stove igniter that lasts longer and here is where it gets tricky; some last longer than others.  I have had customers go through highest quality igniter in 1 year.  I have some who have used the original igniter for 8 years before it failed.

What makes one pellet stove igniter last longer than another?

In my more than 15 years of being a technician and having replaced thousands of igniters I can say with certainty; I’m not totally sure what makes one last longer than another.

The only thing I know that can for sure make an igniter fail faster is having a Pellet Stove on a thermostat.  Let’s say that an igniter has a lifespan of 750 starts.  (This is just a round number I picked out of the air.)  If the stove is not on a thermostat and it is turned on once a day for 150 days of the year then the igniter will last 5 years.  If the same igniter is on a stove with a thermostat and the thermostat turns the stove on and off 3 times a day then the igniter would fail within 2 years.

Taking your stove off the thermostat is the only for sure way I know of increasing the lifespan of Pellet Stove Igniters.

I sell two styles of Pellet Stove Igniters; the first is the Standard Igniter which is the same that came with your stove.  The expected lifespan of a Standard Igniter is 3-5 years.  This is not a guarantee, it is what is normal.  Some last longer and some fail after only a year.

The second pellet stove igniter I carry is the Super Igniter.  This igniter has been redesigned to last longer.  There is a lot of technical explanation around how they get it to last longer and the short story is it maintains a more uniform temperature, cools down faster, and doesn’t flex or bend when hot.  The claim is that it lasts 5 times longer than a standard igniter and that if it ever bends so badly that it has to be cut out of the stove the manufacturer will replace it for free.  By definition that is a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The Super Igniter costs about 25% more than the Standard Igniter.  The question you might have is, “does it really last longer and is it worth the extra money?”  My answer is you have a good chance of a Super Igniter lasting longer than the Standard Igniter and I each year I have people who bought the Super Igniter and it failed sooner than expected.  Would they have been better of just buying the Standard Igniter?  Maybe, it’s a gamble.  As time has gone on the majority of people who bought the Super Igniter are having it last longer than the Standard Igniter.

I worked with a guy name Jack who sold hot tubs and I remember a customer grilling him about warrantees and guarantees on a particular hot tub.  After a few minutes Jack finally gave him this reply;

“If everything for sale in the world had full disclosure of how well it really worked, then the only thing that would ever be sold is a Rock!”

 

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