Why Does My Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

Why Does My Pilot Light Keep Going Out?Are you tired of relighting the pilot light on one of your gas appliances? If your appliances are performing properly, this should not be a frequent issue.

How Your Pilot Light Works

Gas-fueled heating units like furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces hold a small flame that remains lit, serving as an ignition source. This tiny flame is used to ignite the gas that fuels these appliances so that they can provide heat.

Why It Keeps Going Out

Pilot lights may occasionally go out due to issues with drafts or poor ventilation, but this is rare. If you have to relight your pilot light frequently, this points to mechanical issues – specifically, the thermocouple on the appliance.

The thermocouple prevents gas from leaking into your home when the pilot light goes out. If faulty, a thermocouple can snuff out your pilot light. In some cases it can even prevent a pilot light from igniting.

What to Do When Your Pilot Light Goes Out

It is possible to relight a pilot yourself. It is not difficult. However, safety is key. If you think you’re experiencing issues with a faulty thermocouple, it’s best to contact a furnace repair company for help. In addition, you should never attempt to light a pilot light if you smell gas. Any gas odor indicates a leak. For your safety, you should vacate your home immediately and contact your gas company.

How to Relight a Standing Pilot Light

Below is the basic procedure for relighting a pilot light, however, the owner’s manual for your appliance will offer additional insight.

  1. Adjust the settings on your appliance so that it will attempt to turn on to produce heat. For furnaces, for instance, set them to heat mode to a temperature of 80 F.
  2. Locate the pilot valve on the appliance. It will typically be in a box-shaped device near the burners, featuring a knob marked: ON, PILOT, OFF.
  3. Turn the knob OFF and wait 3 minutes for gas to dissipate.
  4. Turn the knob to PILOT.
  5. Using a long fireplace match or grill lighter, relight the pilot while depressing the knob/holding the reset button. Hold the button/knob for 30 seconds to get the thermocouple hot enough to open the main gas valve.
  6. Turn the knob to ON. If burners fail to ignite, repeat the process, holding the reset knob/button longer.
  7. Adjust temperature when finished.

I Can’t Find the Pilot Light on My Water Heater

Your water heater maintenance company knows some models have an access cover that must be lifted to gain access to the pilot light, which is typically located beneath the tank. The assistance of your owner’s manual and a flashlight can make finding the pilot on your water heater much easier.

Keep the flame alive. Address pilot light issues, ensuring the safety of your combustion appliances with the help of & H Heating & Air Conditioning. Contact us to schedule service and maintenance today.


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