Why Does My Gas Furnace Pilot Light Keep Going Out? | R. A. Styron Heating Specialist | Chesapeake Va

Tired of your gas furnace pilot light going out? It’s frustrating, especially in the frigid temperatures Hampton Roads typically sees.

Here are a few common causes of this problem and how to fix them.

Problems with the thermocouple:

The thermocouple is the copper rod you see the pilot flame hitting. It’s a safety device that controls a small valve to shut off gas going to the pilot light if the flame goes out.

If it didn’t shut the gas valve, all that gas could get into your home. If it was ignited, it’d cause an explosion.

So, the thermocouple is like a lifeguard, standing watch until something goes wrong.

There are a few problems related to the thermocouple that can cause the pilot light to go out:

  • Malfunction– If your thermocouple is broken, it will shut the valve even if the pilot light was working fine. And you won’t be able to open the valve manually, either. A professional HVAC contractor needs to replace the thermocouple if that’s the case. But, don’t worry, they tend to be fairly inexpensive.
  • Soot buildup– Soot on the thermocouple will block the flame, so the thermocouple won’t work properly. Gently clean the soot off with a wire brush.
  • Pilot not enveloping the top of the thermocouple– The pilot light flame needs to envelop the top part of thermocouple rod so the thermocouple knows the flame is on.

Problems with the pilot light:

The pilot flame should be a strong blue cone. If the pilot flame is a lazy, yellow flame, it’s not hot enough and won’t properly reach the thermocouple.

A lazy yellow flame is caused by a lack of air, often due to dirt getting in the pilot light opening (called an orifice).

Consider a high efficiency furnace for your Tidewater area home:

If you are having problems with the pilot light going out on your gas furnace then it’s more than likely around 20 years old or older meaning it may be time to starting thinking about replacement. There are some pretty solid perks to replacing your old furnace before you start throwing lots of cash to fixing your old one. If you’re not sure you can check out our buying guide here.

If you need help getting your existing furnace up and running or think you are in need of replacement the heating experts here at R. A. Styron can help. Give us a call to schedule your appointment before you’re left in the cold this winter!



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