Pilot Light Problems: What You Should Do
A faltering pilot light on a cold Wilmington winter night is enough to worry anyone, but not all pilot light problems will shut your furnace down. Many are easy to solve by yourself, while a few require a furnace technician.
Flame won’t stay lit — Try relighting the pilot light while holding the ignition switch down for 60 seconds. If it still won’t stay lit, you most likely have a problem with your thermocouple, the component that senses when the flame is present so fuel can be released. These components eventually wear out, and if you’re comfortable working with your furnace, you can replace it yourself. Insufficient gas supply can also make the pilot light go out. Check that the shutoff valves on your gas lines are in the full “open” position.
Flame the wrong size — If the flame is too small, the thermocouple won’t allow the release of fuel, meaning your furnace won’t kick on. Check your owner’s manual to find the location of the flame adjustment screw or bolt. Use this to make the flame larger or smaller. You shouldn’t have to do this often, but it’s sometimes necessary when the screw or furnace unit has been bumped or jostled.
Flame is the wrong color — The flame should be blue. A yellow or orange flame isn’t hot enough for the thermocouple to trigger the release of fuel. Use the flame adjustment screw to adjust the flame. If it won’t burn blue, you may have incorrect gas pressure, or a misaligned or dirty burner causing your pilot light problems.
Flame flickers or spits – A draft in the room can cause your flame to flicker. Spitting is often caused by a dirty gas orifice or tube. These can be cleaned with a stiff wire, but you’ll need to remove the pilot light assembly to do so.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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