What To Do if Your Furnace Pilot Light Goes Out
Written on: February 21, 2022
What to DIY and What Not to DIY
If the propane furnace in your Northeastern Pennsylvania home is on the older side, chances are it relies on a pilot light for ignition. If the furnace’s pilot light goes out, your furnace won’t work. (Modern furnaces utilize electric ignition, which makes them more efficient and reliable.)
Why do pilot lights go out?
If the pilot light on your furnace goes out, it’s probably due to one of the following four primary causes:
- There’s a blocked intake valve. Dust or debris can build up and cut off the oxygen supply to the pilot light chamber. You can’t have a flame without sufficient oxygen.
- There’s a damaged thermocouple. A thermocouple is an electrical switch that adjusts its output as the temperature changes. In the case of your furnace, it’s a safety measure that will cut off the gas supply if things get too hot. If the thermocouple on your furnace is malfunctioning, it will need to be repaired by a trained technician. It’s not something you should attempt to fix yourself.
- There’s a fuel leak. If an insufficient amount of fuel is reaching the pilot light on your furnace, that can cause your flame to burn yellow instead of blue. Yellow flames are less intense (hot) than blue flames, and a yellow pilot light flame usually means there’s a leak somewhere in your system. Your furnace will respond to that leak by automatically shutting down as a safety precaution. Do not attempt to repair a leak in your heating system yourself.
- There’s a draft. Sometimes pilot lights simply blow out like a candle on a birthday cake due to a draft or gust of wind. This is a situation you can address yourself.
If a draft or wind causes your pilot light to go out, you can reset it by following the steps below. However, first check with the manufacturer’s instructions for resetting your pilot light and follow those instead if they are different from what’s listed below.
Resetting a pilot light
To reset the pilot light on your furnace if a wind or draft blew it out, do the following:
- Find the gas valve in the pilot light assembly. It probably has the following settings: ON, OFF, and PILOT.
- Turn the valve to the OFF position. Wait at least three minutes for It to reset.
- Now that you’ve waited three minutes, turn the valve to the PILOT setting and hold a lighted match next to (not inside) the pilot light opening. While holding the match, push and hold the reset button on the pilot control panel until you see the pilot light ignite. Now set the valve to the ON position.
- If you’re unsuccessful after a few attempts, it’s time to call in the pros. An Ace-Robbins technician will come and make any necessary repairs for a reasonable rate.
Is it time to upgrade?
Modern furnaces are significantly more efficient than their predecessors. If you think it might be time to replace the furnace in your Northeastern Pennsylvania home, Ace-Robbins has you covered. We’ll provide a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current furnace as well as an estimate on the cost of a new furnace. Whether you need repairs, service, or installation, we can handle it.
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