How to Fix Your Furnace Pilot Light

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When your heating pilot light goes out we understand that it can be an extremely stressful experience to have to relight it.  Rest assured that this is definitely a task you as a homeowner, or a renter can accomplish yourself, provided you take the proper safety precautions.

First you’ll want to understand why your pilot light is out, especially if the problem has occurred more than once.  Keep in mind if you are still having issues lighting the pilot or keeping it lit we are just a phone call away

Potential Issue #1

The first and easiest thing that you can look into is checking the flame level.  It may be the case that the flame is set to a very low setting, in which case it makes it very hard to keep it lit for long periods of time.  Each furnace and pilot light is different so it is best to consult your furnace manual for specific instructions on how to adjust the flame level.  Once the flame level has been increased hopefully that will solve your light problems in one simple step.

Potential Issue #2

You may have a thermocouple issue.  What is a thermocouple you ask? Think of the thermocouple as the co-pilot to your pilot light.  It is a valve that operates off of heat instead of electricity.  It is made up of two wires that are welded together and sit in the hottest part of the pilot light, with the other end attached to the main gas valve.  Basically the thermocouple acts as a sensor and senses when the pilot light is burning hot enough light the gas from the main valve.  When it is in the right spot, and senses the heat is hot enough it turns that heat into an electric signal that tells the gas valve to open up and let the gas out! Pretty cool right?

The problem occurs when the thermocouple slips out of place.  If it slips it can block the gas from exiting the valve and and then the light will not stay lit.  It’s a quick and easy fix to put it back where it belongs if it has slipped.  We again recommend having a look at your furnace’s instruction manual to review the diagram of your specific unit to determine if indeed the thermocouple is out of place.

If your pilot light is staying lit but the heater isn’t triggering, your thermocouple may be bad and this is an issue you will have to call us for help on.

Potential Issue #3

As explained above the right amount of gas needs to be coming from the tip of the pilot light.  If you have a corroded or clogged pilot light, the gas will be restricted and also will not light.  Over time, this tip can become blocked with soot and residue, stopping the gas from exiting the tip. It must be cleaned to operate at full capacity. You can use a toothbrush or run a piece of flexible wire in and out of the orifices on the tip to remove the debris. This problem is absolutely one you can prevent by cleaning the pilot light at least once every six months.

The guide above is meant to help with simple issues that you may be able to fix yourself when you find a pilot light issue with your furnace.  It is not meant to replace the work that may need to be done by professionals on your furnace if your issues go beyond these simple fixes.  Call us today for any more complicated heat or air conditioning needs.

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