Don’t let the word “continuity” scare you. It’s derived from the word “continuous.” In an electrical circuit, electricity has to flow from a power source back to that power source. If there is any break in the circuit, it is not continuous, and it has no continuity. “Good” continuity means that there is no break in the circuit.
For example, if you were testing an ignitor to see if it was burned out, you would try putting a small amount of power through the ignitor. If it was burned out, there would be a break in the circuit, the electricity wouldn’t flow, and your meter would show no continuity.
That is what the resistance part of your VOM does; it provides a small electrical current (using batteries within the VOM) and measures how fast the current is flowing.
For our purposes, it doesn’t matter how fast the current is flowing; only that there is current flow.
To use your VOM to test continuity, set the dial on (resistance) R x 1, or whatever the lowest setting is. Touch the metal parts of the test leads together and read the meter. It should peg the meter all the way on the right side of the scale, towards “0” on the meter’s “resistance” or “ohms” scale. If the meter does not read zero ohms, adjust the thumbwheel on the front of the VOM until it does read zero. If you cannot get the meter to read zero, the battery in the VOM is low; replace it.
If you are testing, say, an ignitor, first make sure that the burner leads are not connected to anything, especially a power source. If the ignitor’s leads are still connected to something, you may get a reading through that something. If there is still live power on the item you’re testing for continuity, you will burn out your VOM instantly and possibly shock yourself.