What To Do When Your Pilot Light Goes Out
When is it time to call a professional?
Older propane furnaces rely on a pilot light for ignition. If you have an older furnace in your Bay Area home and the pilot light goes out, your furnace won’t work.
Why Pilot Lights Go Out
Several things can cause your furnace’s pilot light to go out. Chances are the culprit is one of the following:
- A blocked intake valve: Dust and debris can accumulate and starve the pilot light chamber of oxygen. You can’t have a flame without enough oxygen.
- A damaged thermocouple: A thermocouple is an electrical switch that’s affected by the surrounding temperature. As a safety measure, the thermocouple of a furnace will cut off its gas supply if it gets too hot. If your thermocouple is malfunctioning, you’ll need to hire a trained technician to repair it.
- A fuel leak: When an inadequate amount of fuel reaches the pilot light on your furnace, the flame will burn yellow instead of blue. A yellow flame is not as hot as a blue flame. A yellow pilot light flame usually means there’s a leak somewhere in your system. If that’s the case, your furnace will automatically shut down as a safety precaution. This is another case in which a professional should be called.
- A draft: Just like a candle, a pilot light can be blown out by a draft or gust of wind. When this happens, you should be able to address the issue yourself. See the instructions below.
Note: First check the manufacturer’s instructions for resetting your pilot light. Follow those if they differ from the instruction below.
If a gust of wind or draft has caused the pilot light on your furnace to go out, do the following:
- Find the gas valve in the pilot light assembly. Look for the following settings: ON, OFF, and PILOT.
- Turn the valve to the OFF position. Then wait at least three minutes for it to reset.
- Turn the valve to the PILOT position and hold a lit match near (but not inside) the pilot light opening. While still holding the lit match, push and hold the reset button on the pilot control panel until you see the pilot light ignite. Now return the valve back to the ON position.
- If you’re unable to get the pilot light lit after a few attempts, it’s time to call for a professional.
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Allied Propane Service is a family-owned business with a long history of community support in the Bay Area and a commitment to safety. We’ve been serving northern California since 1967.