What to Do If Your Pilot Light Isn’t Working

Posted on: September 10, 2016

When your gas furnace or water heater suddenly stops working like it should, this is often caused by a pilot light issue. Your pilot light is a crucial component of your heating system, so it’s important to make sure it’s functioning properly at all times!

If your pilot light is out, here is some handy information you might want to know.

Reasons Why Your Pilot Light May Not Be Working

Your pilot light is an important component of your furnace. It is the piece that starts your furnace up, and when it’s not working, this means your home has no heat.  Here are the three main reasons why your pilot light may not be working.

There Is a Thermocouple Issue

Often when your pilot light continually goes out, it is due to the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a device that shuts off the gas when the pilot light flame goes out.  A few things can go wrong with the thermocouple:

  • It can break and malfunction
  • Soot can build up and block the flame
  • The pilot may not cover the top of the thermocouple rod

All of these issues will cause the pilot light to go out. The thermocouple is a sensitive yet important piece of your furnace, so it is important to have an expert handle it.

It Needs to Be Cleaned

A weak, yellow flame can be caused by dirt and debris built up within your furnace. If you see a lazy, yellow flame instead of a strong blue flame, you will need to have your furnace cleaned.

It Was Blown Out

Strong winds or drafty areas can also cause your pilot light to go out. This can be a pain because it can be hard to detect where the draft is coming from.

Signs That Your Pilot Light Is Out

Many things can happen that will stop your furnace from heating—so how do you know if the pilot light is the culprit?

If you suspect your pilot light is out, the first thing you can do is check for a flame. If after turning the knobs on your furnace you still are not getting a solid flame, this is a good signal your pilot light is out.

If you smell gas or detect a rotten egg smell, you will need to have your gas shut off entirely. Many gas furnaces will have a safety shut off valve, but if this is not available or you can’t find the valve, leave your home and call 911.

How to Fix Your Pilot Light

Your furnace may have manufacturer’s instructions taped to the side on how you can re-light your furnace. If this is not available, you can try these steps.

  • Find your gas valve, it should have three settings: on, off, and pilot.
  • You need to turn the valve to the off position for at least three minutes.
  • Once you have had the valve at off for a few minutes, switch it over to pilot setting.
  • You will need a match that is lit. Hold it to the pilot opening and push the reset button on your pilot control. Hold it down until the pilot flame is lit and burning brightly.
  • Set the pilot valve to the on position.

If this does not light the pilot light, or if you are nervous to play with the pilot light yourself, call a professional.

Call Air Experts to Repair Your Furnace’s Pilot Light in Raleigh, NC

The team at Air Experts Heating & Cooling can help you restore your Raleigh home’s pilot light and get your furnace working again.

We’ve been the Raleigh-Durham area’s go-to for all home heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs since 1986.  For three decades, homeowners in and around the area have turned to our team because of the professional knowledge and continued reliability we’ve provided. Our Super 7 Guarantees assure you that your satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities.

If you’re in need of heating service in the Triangle area, give us a call at 919-480-2727 or contact us online to schedule your repair today!

 

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