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What to Do When Furnace Pilot Light Goes Out?

Having issues with your furnace pilot light? Call (281) 916-8699 for furnace service by BVS, Katy’s trusted heating and AC service company.

When your furnace pilot light goes out, you may not know how to relight it. A pilot light burns continuously in a furnace to ignite natural gas. It’s an essential part of any gas-powered heating system, so when the pilot light goes out, you need to fix it right away to restore heat to your home.

The first step is determining why the pilot went out in the first place. Here, we’ll cover why a pilot light goes out in the first place and how to relight it. With Katy’s furnace installation services from BVS, you can keep your pilot light burning and your home warm all winter long.

What Is a Furnace Pilot Light and How does it Work?

A furnace pilot light is a small flame that burns continuously in the furnace. The purpose of this flame is to ignite the burners and make sure they are ready for use.

When your thermostat detects the temperature has dropped below the set number, it tells the furnace to turn on. To supply heat to your home, the furnace releases natural gas, which ignites when it comes into contact with the pilot light.

The pilot light is not the same as a furnace’s burners. It is a separate flame that burns continuously and only ignites burner flames when your heating system turns on.

Reasons Why Your Furnace Pilot Light May Go Out

Your pilot light might go out for several reasons. Some issues you can fix yourself, but others require inspection and repair from a professional HVAC contractor.

1. Draft is blowing out the standing pilot light.

The first thing to do is check for a draft. If you notice air blowing near your pilot light from a window or crack, stop the draft at its source to prevent it from happening again, then relight the pilot light.

2. You have a loose or faulty thermocouple

Your pilot light stays lit constantly thanks to gas from a small tube. This tube has a safety valve called a thermocouple that stops the flow of natural gas if your pilot light is not lit.

If your thermocouple fails, it creates a dangerous situation where gas will continue to flow and leak into your home, even if the pilot light is off. This problem calls for immediate repair, as leaking gas is extremely hazardous and can cause major health complications. If you suspect that your thermocouple is not functioning properly, it may be time to replace it.

3. Your furnace is dirty

If gas flow to the pilot light is obstructed with dirt or dust, your pilot light may not be getting enough gas to stay lit. If you relight the pilot light and it is yellow instead of blue, call a professional heating company to clean your furnace and restore gas to your pilot light.

4. Your gas source is the problem, not your furnace

When the pilot light goes out and you’re not able to turn on your heating system, it’s important to first determine whether or not your furnace is the problem. If you have a gas source and it isn’t working properly, then there are several things you can do:

  • Check for leaks in the plumbing or gas valve.
  • Make sure that there are no issues with incoming gas pressure.

A plumbing leak can mean extinguished standing pilot lights, which may lead to hazardous gas exposure. If your utility company is not providing gas at the appropriate pressure, or if the lines are overwhelmed by use, your furnace may not be getting enough gas to function properly. You can contact your utility company if you are concerned about incoming gas pressure.

How to Relight a Pilot Light: Step-by-Step Guide

If your furnace pilot light goes out, you can follow the manufacturer instructions for your furnace to relight it. If you can’t find the specific steps for your furnace, follow these basic steps:

1. Turn off your furnace

It is not safe to tamper with your furnace or gas source until your furnace is turned off.

2. Locate the pilot light opening and gas valve

Look for “pilot,” “on,” or “off” positions to locate the valve and turn it to the “pilot” setting.

3. Hold down the red button on top of the gas valve

This button provides the gas that goes to your pilot light. When you hold it down, it cuts off the gas, extinguishing your pilot light.

4. Light the pilot light with a match or lighter (depending on what type of system you have)

If you have manual pilot lights, you will need to use a flame to relight the pilot light. Automatic pilot lights, on the other hand, will relight by themselves once you let go of the button.

Use plenty of caution with manual pilot lights, especially when lighting the pilot light. Make sure to push the red button down all the way before attempting to relight it.

5. Let go of the button after 60 seconds

Check to make sure your pilot light stays lit. There is something wrong with your gas furnace if your pilot light won’t stay on. Call for professional furnace repair or replacement immediately so that an expert can fix the problem quickly and safely. This can prevent gas leaks and other hazards from occurring, as well as save you money on repairs later on down the road.

Call BVS for Furnace Repair When Your Pilot Light Goes Out

A quality, well-functioning furnace saves you money on your monthly heating bill and gives you more peace of mind when it comes to dangerous leaks. If your furnace pilot light is having recurring issues, or if your unit is simply outdated, consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model.

Is your furnace energy efficient? Call BVS at (281) 916-8699 for furnace repair or replacement in Katy, Texas, and the Houston area.

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