Pilot lights play a crucial role in providing heat and hot water to your home, and when they go out, it can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation. Fortunately, relighting your pilot light is a relatively simple task that can be done by most homeowners with a few basic tools and safety precautions. In this blog, we will outline the steps you should take if your pilot light goes out and provide tips for maintaining it to avoid future outages.
What Is a Pilot Light for?
A furnace pilot light is a small, continuously burning flame that ignites the main burner in a gas furnace. It serves as a constant source of ignition for the furnace, allowing it to turn on and off as needed to regulate the temperature in your home.
The pilot light is typically located near the main burner and is lit either manually or automatically. The flame is typically blue and is small in size, but it is an important safety feature that helps prevent gas buildup and potential explosions in the furnace.
Steps to Relight Your Pilot Light:
- Locate the pilot light. The pilot light is typically found near the main burner in your furnace, hot water heater, or stove.
- Turn off the gas. Before attempting to relight the pilot light, make sure to turn off the gas supply to your appliance. This can typically be done by turning the control knob to the “Off” position.
- Wait for gas to clear. Allow at least 5 minutes for any residual gas to clear from the area before relighting the pilot light.
- Locate the ignition switch. The ignition switch is usually a small button or lever near the pilot light.
- Relight the pilot light. Hold down the ignition switch while lighting a match or using a lighter to ignite the pilot light. Keep the switch held down for about 30 seconds to allow the gas to flow and keep the flame lit.
- Turn the gas back on. Once the pilot light is lit, turn the gas supply back on and allow the appliance to run for a few minutes to ensure it is functioning properly
What if My Pilot Light Won’t Reignite or Goes Out Repeatedly?
If you’ve tried relighting your pilot light but it keeps going out or won’t ignite, don’t panic. There are a few common causes of pilot light problems, and addressing them can help you restore your heating or hot water supply. Here are some steps you can take:
- Clean the pilot orifice: One of the most common causes of a failing pilot light is a clogged or dirty pilot orifice. This prevents the gas from flowing properly, causing the pilot light to go out or not ignite. To fix this issue, you can clean the pilot orifice with a stiff wire or needle. Simply insert the wire into the orifice and gently clear away any debris or blockages.
- Check the thermocouple: The thermocouple is a safety device that detects the presence of the pilot light flame and shuts off the gas supply if it goes out. If the thermocouple is weak or damaged, it may shut off the gas even when the pilot light is lit, causing it to go out repeatedly. In this case, you may need to replace the thermocouple.
- Inspect the control valve or regulator: In some cases, a malfunctioning control valve or regulator can also cause a failing pilot light. If you’ve ruled out the other potential causes and your pilot light still won’t stay lit, it’s best to have a professional inspect your appliance. They can determine if there is a problem with the control valve or regulator.
If you’re unable to diagnose or fix the issue yourself, it’s always best to call a professional for assistance. They will be able to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs to get your heating or hot water back up and running.
Tips for Maintaining Your Pilot Light:
- Clean the area. Regularly clean the area around the pilot light to remove any debris or dust that could interfere with its proper functioning.
- Check for leaks. Regularly inspect the area for any signs of gas leaks, such as a hissing sound or a strong gas odor.
- Test regularly. Test the pilot light regularly to make sure it is functioning properly and to identify any potential issues early on.
- In conclusion, a pilot light going out is a common problem that can be easily fixed by most homeowners. By following the steps outlined above and taking proper safety precautions, you can quickly and safely relight your pilot light and get your heating or hot water back up and running. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent future outages and ensure the safety and efficiency of your appliance.
When Should I Call a Professional?
If you’ve tried to relight your furnace pilot light but it keeps going out, or if you’re unable to diagnose the issue, it’s best to call a professional for assistance.
An experienced HVAC technician will be able to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs to get your furnace back up and running. A well-functioning furnace is essential for keeping your home warm and comfortable, and a failing pilot light can be a sign of a more serious problem.
Don’t risk your safety or the function of your furnace by attempting to fix the issue yourself. Call AAA Heating and Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians. Our team is committed to providing top-notch service and ensuring that your heating system is functioning properly.