What To Do If Your Furnace’s Pilot Light Goes Out

January 19, 2017

hvac technician working on furnacePilot lights are commonly found on older model furnaces, and while they serve a very important purpose, they also pose a safety hazard if they go out. Instructions on how to relight the pilot light are typically affixed to the appliance or in the original owner’s manual.

Knowing what to do if your pilot light goes out, and when to call for service or repair, can help keep your home and family safe and comfortable throughout heating season.

Contact us for help or around-the-clock emergency repair if you can’t keep the flame lit or have questions or concerns with your heating or cooling system.

How Does a Pilot Light Work?

Many components work together in older model furnaces to maintain the flow of natural gas to the appliance as needed. When heat is called for and the furnace turns “on,” a valve releases gas to the main burner, and the pilot light ignites the gas.

This small, blue, perpetually burning flame is created when a small amount of gas is channeled through a small tube in the gas pipe. If the pilot light blows out, the tube has a valve that, when shut off by the thermocouple, stops the flow of gas to prevent it from building up inside your home.

What Causes a Furnace’s Pilot Light To Go Out?

There are several reasons why your pilot light may blow out. Some you might be able to correct yourself, while others require professional services.

  • Draft: A sudden or steady rush of air can easily blow out the standing pilot light. Once it’s relit, check the surrounding area for the source of the draft to prevent it from happening again.
  • Faulty thermocouple. If your pilot light repeatedly goes out, this is a likely culprit. If this flame sensor should fail, gas will continue to flow even after the pilot light has been extinguished, causing a safety hazard and requiring immediate repair.
  • Dirty pilot orifice. If, upon reigniting the pilot light, the flame burns a weak yellow instead of blue, the pilot orifice may be dirty. Call Rick’s Heating & Cooling for professional service.

How To Light a Pilot Light

The pilot light controls, assembly, and instructions for lighting are typically at the front of the unit for easy access. If you can’t locate the manufacturer’s instructions, general instructions are as follows:

  1. Locate the pilot light assembly, including the gas valve with “On,” “Off,” and “Pilot” settings, and the pilot reset button.
  2. Rotate the valve to the “Off” position, and wait several minutes.
  3. Rotate the valve to the “Pilot” position, and hold a barbecue lighter or long match to the pilot opening while pushing the pilot reset button.
  4. Keep the button pressed until the flame is lit and burning strongly, then release and turn the gas valve to the “On” position.
  5. If the flame won’t stay lit, rotate the gas valve to the “Off” position and call for service.

Still Not Working? Schedule Quick, Reliable Furnace Repair

The skilled technicians at Rick’s Heating & Cooling can provide expert assistance with all your heating concerns, including issues with your pilot light.

Call 513-899-6005 today, or contact us online to request service.

Schedule Online!