The basic idea behind a pilot light is simple. Its purpose is to provide the flame needed to light the gas coming out of the main burner. When the furnace “turns on”, a valve releases gas into the burner and the pilot light ignites that gas. You can see, however, that the pilot light creates a potential safety problem.
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.
One may also ask, what should a pilot light look like? A proper pilot flame should be blue with a yellow tip and should be strong enough to cover about 1/2 inch at the end of the thermocouple tip. If the flame is too strong and improperly adjusted, it will be blue but may be noisy and lift off the thermocouple, causing improper furnace operation.
Herein, how does a pilot light go out?
Usually, a problem with the thermocouple causes the pilot light to go out. The thermocouple is the small copper rod that the pilot light hits. The thermocouple’s job is to shut a gas safety valve if the pilot light goes out. That’s important because gas is always being supplied to the pilot to keep the flame lit.
Do I need to turn gas off if pilot light goes out?
This system will allow a small amount of gas to leak through the pilot tubing. If the pilot light is out, the gas must be shut off at the appliance isolation valve, normally located in close proximity to the appliance. Then you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight the pilot.
Can a pilot light cause carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced during burning fuel. It doesn’t leak from a pilot light that’s gone out, but if the light keeps going out even after you relight the pilot, it can indicate that you have other problems.
Are pilot lights always on?
At the same time, that pilot light is burning off the gas and preventing the poisonous fumes from entering your home. Some pilot light tubes have automatic shut-offs if the flame goes out, but not all of them do, so each and every pilot light in the home should be routinely checked to make sure it is always on.
Is it normal to smell gas after pilot?
If you think you smell gas and you have gas utilities, be safe. Note that it is totally normal on automatic pilots (pilots that do NOT stay lit all the time) to smell a little natural gas when the are first turned on. A little gas will escape as the pilot and burners light on your heat or appliance.
Where are pilot lights located?
It’s located near the gas burner tube assembly inside the furnace. Get your match or lighter ready. Sometimes the pilot is hard to reach.
How do you check if your pilot light is out?
The pilot gas line is a small metal tube below the burner assembly and distinctive by the slight upturn at the end. It will be apparent, if the pilot is lit, by the small blue flame burning at the end. If you do not see a small blue flame burning, the pilot light is out.
What does a thermocouple look like?
The thermocouple looks like a piece of metal tubing smaller than a soda straw. To find it, first locate the gas control box. This is the box that the main gas line enters, where you turn the gas on in the furnace. The other end of the thermocouple sits in the flame of the pilot light.
Can a pilot light flame be adjusted?
Adjusting the Pilot Flame If the pilot flame is too small, you may be able to make it larger by turning the pilot adjustment screw on the valve control counterclockwise with a screwdriver to open it. The cause of a weak flame may also be an obstruction in the pilot tube.
Why does my pilot light go out when I release the pilot light knob?
The most likely of those is that the thermocouple needs to be replaced. The button you press to light the pilot bypasses the thermocouple. When you release the button, the thermocouple ensures that unburned gas doesn’t get released by shutting off the gas when it’s not heated by the burning pilot light.
How long does a thermocouple last?
Thermocouples can last several years, but they don’t typically last as long as the furnace itself. If the pilot remains lit, but the main furnace doesn’t stay lit, it’s time to replace the thermocouple.
How do I fix my pilot light?
Hold lighted match to pilot opening while you push reset button on pilot control panel. Keep this button depressed until pilot flame burns brightly, then set valve to on position. Step 4: If pilot flame won’t stay lit, opening may be clogged. Turn gas valve off, and clean opening with piece of fine wire.
How do you relight a pilot light?
Relight the pilot light. Turn the knob to “Pilot,” and let gas to flow to the pilot. Light a lighter or match, then push in the reset button. Hold your flame to the pilot light’s opening. Keep the reset switch depressed until the pilot light is burning steadily.
Will pilot stay lit if thermocouple is bad?
Nothing lasts forever, and when the thermocouple wears out, the pilot won’t stay lit and your appliance won’t work. The pilot can go out for a number of other reasons, however, so if you’re having trouble getting the pilot to stay lit, the thermocouple may not be at fault.
What causes a thermocouple to fail?
Changes in temperature can cause regular expansion and contraction in metal, which will cause thermocouples to weaken over time. After enough time, metal fatigue can cause a thermocouple to break. If thermocouples start to give out unusual readings, it may be suffering from metal fatigue.
How do I know if my thermocouple is bad?
This means that if the thermocouple goes bad, there is no way of detecting if the pilot light is burning or not. And when the pilot light goes out, you will not have hot water supply in your plumbing system. To test if the problem is with the thermocouple, try to relight the pilot.