Why Does the Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

One of the reasons why furnaces stop working, or stop functioning efficiently, is the pilot light. If you haven’t heard the furnace kick on in a while, or it doesn’t stay on, you may want to consider calling the heating experts at All Air Heating & Cooling. Our HVAC technicians have worked with a range of makes and models of furnaces and we can quickly diagnose the issue and will have your home nice and cozy before you know it.

If there is an issue with the pilot light, it’s best to call a professional, but here are a few reasons why the pilot light keeps going out. Remember, if you do any maintenance yourself to shut off any gas flowing into the home.

A Faulty Thermocouple

The thermocouple is one of the most common reasons why the pilot light won’t stay on. The thermocouple is a copper rod that the pilot flame hits, also known as a flame sensor. When the copper rods senses the flame from the pilot light, it will turn the gas on, which powers the furnace. If the thermocouple doesn’t turn off the gas, the gas flowing through the furnace could end up in your home. There are a few reasons why the thermocouple fails:

  • It’s Broken: When the thermocouple is broken or burned out, it won’t sense the flame, and will not turn on the gas valve. In this case, it simply needs to be replaced, which is a quick and inexpensive fix that your local Fredericksburg heating technician and handle.
  • It’s Dirty: Over time, dirt and grime can build up on the thermocouple, keeping it from sensing the flame. You can try to take it out and clean it with a wire brush, or you can call an HVAC technician.
  • It’s Not Lined Up: As you can imagine, if the thermocouple isn’t lined up with the pilot light flame, it won’t be able to detect the flame.

A Weak Flame

If you can get the pilot light to stay on for a minute, take a look at the quality of the flame. It should be a strong blue flame, but if it is weak and yellow, then it won’t be able to come in contact with the thermocouple. This may simply mean that the space where the flame comes out of is dirty. If you’re able, disassemble the pilot light and use a can of compressed air to clear out any debris.

A Bad Gas Regulator

When the gas regulator into the home isn’t working, it could affect a variety of appliances if your home, including the dryer and stove. If these aren’t working, along with your furnace, they may not be getting enough gas to run the systems. In this case, you’ll need to contact your utility company.

Air Drafts

Sometimes, all it takes for the pilot light to go out is a strong draft. This can happen on especially windy days or nights when air gets into the output duct of the furnace. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all of the intake air registers are open throughout the home.

No one looks forward to needing furnace repair, but sometimes all it takes is some heating maintenance to get everything back in working order. Whatever your HVAC needs are, get in touch with the experts at All Air Heating & Cooling. We always offer quick repairs and honest work. Call today for an appointment.

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