Older gas furnaces use a standing pilot light to ignite burners for heat. When a problem occurs with a pilot light, the furnace isn’t able to warm up properly in order to heat your home. Gillece Heating has helped many homeowners diagnose and repair common furnace pilot light problems.

How a Pilot Light Works

A pilot light in a gas furnace is a continuously burning flame that ignites the burners. When the pilot light is hot enough and working correctly, the main gas valve in the pilot assembly is kept open by what’s called a thermocouple. A thermocouple is an electronic device that monitors the pilot light and shuts off the gas valve to the burners if there is not enough heat.

Pilot lights can go out for different reasons or burn inefficiently, including due to:

  • Faulty thermocouple
  • Dirt buildup around the pilot light
  • Strong draft
  • Bad gas valve
  • Flue or chimney problems

One of the first things you should determine if your pilot light goes out is if a strong draft may have caused it. If the pilot light is lit but there is still a problem, check the color of the flame, which should burn bright blue. A yellow flame means there is not enough heat and the thermocouple will thus shut off the gas valve. In some cases, the thermocouple may be loose, broken or otherwise malfunctioning. Dirt buildup can also cause problems with the pilot light, for instance by restricting the amount of air needed for the flame to burn efficiently. Gillece HVAC Technicians can help to determine the exact cause of your pilot light problem and the best way to address it.

Relighting a Pilot Light

Most furnaces have instructions on them as to how to relight the pilot light if it goes out. It’s important that the directions are followed carefully for safety reasons, so if you are unsure how to relight the pilot light in your gas furnace, don’t hesitate to call your Gillece Heating Technician for assistance.