Modern furnaces have electronically-controlled ignition systems. However, if you have an older furnace, it likely uses a standing pilot light–a flame that stays lit at all times–for ignition. In today’s post, local heating and air conditioning repair company Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning takes a look at what may cause a pilot light to keep going out.
How Do Pilot Lights Work?
The purpose of a pilot light is to provide the flame needed to light the gas coming from the main burner. A pilot light has a small, dedicated pipe that feeds a small amount of gas to the burner. When the furnace is turned on for the season, the user lights the pilot light, which stays on until the end of the season. A safety valve called a thermocouple stops the flow of gas if the pilot light goes out, preventing the gas from spreading throughout the house.
The pilot light may go out for one or more of the following reasons:
Temporary gas shortage. The most common cause doesn’t have anything to do with the furnace at all. Natural gas is in high demand during the winter season, and it’s not uncommon for the furnace to not get enough gas to keep the pilot light running. If you have a stove that’s also fueled by natural gas, you can use it to check if you’re getting enough. If not, contact your utility company.
Drafts. The pilot light is covered by an enclosure that helps prevent drafts from blowing it out. You can simply relight the pilot light if this happens, but if the issue persists, you need to have your furnace inspected by your heating contractor.
Soot in the pipes. Burning natural gas produces soot that can accumulate in the pipes and block the flow of gas. If the flame is yellow or red instead of blue, then not enough fuel is getting to the pilot light. Near-complete blockage can result in the pilot light going out repeatedly. Keeping up with furnace maintenance can help prevent this.
Call Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning for Your Heating and Cooling Needs
If you need help with your furnace pilot light or a thorough AC clean and check, call Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning at (630) 372-7640. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Bartlett and the communities in West Chicago.