Over 47% of American households rely on a gas heater to keep them warm through winter.
Natural gas heaters all have a pilot light that ignites the gas burner. The pilot light must be lit for the gas heater to create heat.
So, what are you to do when the pilot light goes out? There are several gas heater pilot light troubleshooting tips you should know. Read on to find out what they are.
Gas Heater Pilot Light Troubleshooting
Before you launch into the various troubleshooting tactics, you need to understand how the furnace works.
There’s a component called the thermocouple that’s located near the pilot light burner. It functions as a safety device. If the pilot light goes, the thermocouple shuts off the gas. Most issues start and end here.
If you don’t feel up to troubleshooting the furnace yourself, then consider hiring someone who offers comprehensive HVAC services. They’ll be able to inspect your furnace and determine what the proper solution is on the same day.
Check the Thermocouple
If your pilot light won’t stay alight, it might be the thermocouple.
Sometimes dust buildup collects on the thermocouple and blocks the sensor. Try cleaning the thermocouple and then relighting the pilot light.
If it continues to go out, the thermocouple might need to be replaced. Thermocouples experience wear and tear over time. If you’ve both cleaned and replaced the thermocouple, move on to other troubleshooting tactics.
Adjust an Irregular Flame
If your pilot light is flickering and faint, you might need to adjust the flame. Find the screw for your pilot that will adjust the strength of the flame.
If the pilot light is yellow instead of blue, it isn’t set at the right temperature. It could also be sending a bad signal to the thermocouple. This too will require you adjusting the flame.
Check the Gas Levels
If the pilot light is tiny or won’t stay lit, check your gas levels. You may not have enough gas in the furnace’s reservoir. You can check to see by looking at the pressure gauge on the supply tank.
Check for a Corroded Pilot Tip
Over time, the tip of your pilot can become corroded with soot. When this happens, it blocks the flow of gas through the supply line. Take a toothbrush and scrub over the top of the tip of the pilot light.
Regulate any Draft
Sometimes, the pilot light keeps snuffing out because there’s a draft you were unaware of. Try relighting your pilot light and waiting for a while. If you see it start to flicker, hold your hand nearby to see if you can feel any air movement.
If you’ve tried all these gas heater pilot light troubleshooting tips and it still won’t light or keeps going out, it’s time to call in an expert. A professional HVAC technician has the tools and expertise to conduct a whole host of troubleshooting techniques.
Most pilot lights can be relit in a few minutes. But if yours doesn't relight, or goes out again within a few minutes, contact an HVAC company immediately. There could be a larger, more serious issue within the furnace that needs to be repaired.Who to call if pilot light keeps going out? ›
Most pilot lights can be relit in a few minutes. But if yours doesn't relight, or goes out again within a few minutes, contact an HVAC company immediately. There could be a larger, more serious issue within the furnace that needs to be repaired.What to do when gas pilot light goes out? ›
- Step 1: Turn off your furnace. ...
- Step 2: Locate your gas valve. ...
- Step 3: Hold down the red button. ...
- Step 4: Light the pilot light. ...
- Step 5: Let go of the button. ...
- Step 6: Turn your gas back on. ...
- Step 7: Turn your furnace back on.
Get help lighting or turning off your gas pilot lights
PG&E gas service technicians are available to safely turn off or relight your appliance pilot lights.
It is positioned very close to the flame, and when lit, the pilot light tells the thermocouple to keep the gas line open. A thermocouple that is dirty or malfunctioning will often shut off your gas supply in error, causing the pilot light to go out and your furnace to stop working.How much does it cost to replace a pilot light? ›
The Cost of Relighting the Pilot Light
Additionally, a pilot light can blow out over time. A plumber can help reignite the pilot light. They will charge you an hourly fee of $40 to $150. This is usually a fairly brief project, and may just take an hour.
Thermocouple – $20 to $150
Repairs typically cost about $150 to have it done professionally, though a new thermocouple itself only costs about $20 on average.
This electric current energises an electromagnet that in turn keeps a gas valve open allowing gas to flow to the main burner. If the pilot light goes out for any reason, the current stops, the valve closes, thus preventing any gas from leaking.Can I relight the pilot light by myself? ›
Hold down the reset button and relight the pilot at the same time. To safely do this, you'll need to use a long-stemmed lighter and hold the end of it very close to the pilot. Once the flame catches, release the reset button. Watch the pilot light on your furnace for a few minutes to ensure it stays lit.Will gas shut off if pilot light goes out? ›
This valve operates automatically and shuts off gas flow as soon as the pilot goes out, preventing any risks of excessive gas buildup. That said, even the failsafe system can malfunction, so any time your pilot is out, be sure to carefully check for any strong odors of gas (smells kind of like sulfur, or rotten eggs).
Just how much gas does a pilot light consume? Most pilot lights will consume about 600 BTU's of gas/hour. With 24 hours in a day, that's roughly 14,400/BTU's each day.How much does a gas furnace pilot light cost? ›
Pilot light of the gas furnace. Keeping this flame running costs about $0.01/h. That can result in a more than $100/year propane bill.How do you know if your thermocouple is bad? ›
Failed Thermocouple Symptoms
You are looking for a few things. The first is signs of contamination on the tube, which can include discoloration, cracks, or pinholes. Next, check the wiring for any signs of wear or corrosion like missing insulation or bare wire.
The most obvious sign of the failure of a pilot light will be a lack of hot water or warm air since the burner assembly can't light and do its job of heating these substances. In many systems, a broken pilot light will prevent the appliance from working at all.Should I worry if the pilot light goes out? ›
Can a Pilot Light Outage Be Dangerous? The worry here is that when a pilot goes out, the gas valve that supplies the fuel for the pilot flame could still be pumping gas. This can mean a buildup of gas, and when the pilot is relit or relights itself it could result in a very serious explosion.Why am I having trouble keeping my pilot light lit? ›
Your Gas Valve Needs Attention
The gas valve on your furnace delivers the gas your pilot light needs to remain lit. If the valve is turned ON, but your pilot light won't stay lit, the problem might be a broken gas valve. The solution most likely will be to replace the valve.
Common reasons include a nearby draft, dirt buildup, or a malfunctioning thermocouple. Another pilot light drawback is energy waste. Since the pilot light needs to remain active, your furnace is always consuming some gas.Why won't my pilot light won't stay lit? ›
If your pilot light won't stay alight, it might be the thermocouple. Sometimes dust buildup collects on the thermocouple and blocks the sensor. Try cleaning the thermocouple and then relighting the pilot light. If it continues to go out, the thermocouple might need to be replaced.