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Having Pilot Light Problems?

5 Reasons Your Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit & How To Fix It

As the holidays approach, you’ll want to start preparing your home for overnight visits from out-of-town friends and family. With guests coming, it’s imperative that all of your appliances and home systems are functioning properly in order to keep everybody comfortable. The last thing you want is for your guests to travel hours only to be without heat. If you find that your furnace pilot light keeps going out, check out these five possible explanations. 

Dirty Thermocouple

If your pilot light goes out, your first instinct is probably to re-light it. However, if you find that you are doing this frequently and the darn thing just won’t stay on, take a look at your thermocouple to see if it is clean. If it’s filthy shut your gas off so that the unit can cool down, then gently clean it by carefully rubbing it with fine grain sandpaper. When you’re done, simply turn the gas back on and light the pilot again. If dirt or grime was the issue, your light shouldn’t go out again! 

Bent Thermocouple

If the flame can’t reach the thermocouple because it has become bent, your gas valve will automatically shut off. Luckily, this is an easy problem to solve. All you have to do is shut off the gas, wait for everything to cool down and bend the thermocouple back into place. Voila! 

Filthy Pilot Opening

If the flame is directed through a dirty pilot opening, it will become unstable and appear wavy. This mild yellow flame is not nearly hot enough to heat the thermocouple and must be addressed immediately. Once again, shut the system off and use a thin needle to extract any clogs that may be obstructing the pilot opening. Once the blockage is clear and the system is turned back on, the flame should now appear blue and cone-shaped. 

Broken Thermocouple

If you’ve tried cleaning the thermocouple and pilot opening but your pilot light just won’t stay on, it may be time for a new thermocouple. Just like any other device, it will suffer wear and tear over the years and will eventually need to be replaced. Make sure to contact a trusted professional to ensure your next thermocouple is installed correctly.

Poor Location

If your furnace has been installed in a small enclosed area, there may not be enough oxygen available for the system to use. In this situation, your system runs out of combustible air and not only will your pilot light continuously burn out, but carbon monoxide may also build up within your home. If you suspect that this is the reason for your pilot light woes, call a professional for solutions to relocating the furnace immediately, as carbon monoxide can be deadly.  

If you have any questions regarding your furnace or pilot light call Comfort First Heating & Cooling at any of our 5 North Carolina locations. We would be more than happy to help in any way we can!

These are three common causes that a furnace repair expert sees with a pilot light that keeps going out:

  1. Clogged Pilot Orifice – Dirt and debris can accumulate in the pilot orifice, which is the spot on your furnace where the gas comes out to light the pilot. One sign that this is the cause is a wavy yellow flame.
  2. Poor Location – A pilot light needs oxygen to burn. If your furnace is in a confined area, your pilot light will have trouble staying lit. Carbon monoxide can also build up in this scenario, so this issue is important to pay attention to.
  3. Faulty Thermocouple – If the pilot light goes out, it’s up to the thermocouple to cut the gas off. If it’s dirty or bent, it may be shutting off the gas unnecessarily.

These are just a few of the most common scenarios. It’s always best to let a professional examine and handle delicate parts of your furnace. If your pilot light keeps going out, call Comfort First to diagnose and fix the problem.

Calling a reputable HVAC company is usually the best way to fix a pilot light that keeps going out.

Sometimes, there are causes you can fix yourself. If there is a draft nearby that is blowing out the light, for example, you can locate the source and find a solution. That can be as simple as closing a window. Another thing you can do is to wait it out to see if it gets better. It is possible that it’s an issue with your gas supply and it is temporary.

If you want a definite answer for why your pilot light keeps going out and a surefire solution, just give Comfort First a call.

If your furnace’s pilot light keeps going off, you may be dealing with a bad thermocouple. But how do you know for sure?

You might be able to rule out a thermocouple issue if:

  • The pilot won’t light at all.
  • The pilot is small and has an orange/yellow tinge.
  • Your neighbors are experiencing similar fluctuations due to the gas supply.

The telltale sign of a bad thermocouple is usually that the flame lights and then goes out after you hold the gas control knob for 20 – 30 seconds.

But the best way to know you have a faulty thermocouple on your hands is to get it diagnosed by an HVAC professional. Speak with a furnace expert from Comfort First to ensure a complete resolution.

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