A client in Altadena, CA, worried about their gas-heated system not being ready for the heating season, called us for gas furnace repair. They suspected a furnace exhaust problem as their unit was not turning on and delivering heat. When our technician arrived, he discovered the pilot light would not turn on due to shut-off gas flow. It was a quick fix that involved replacing a malfunctioning thermocouple. Another problem we spotted was the stripped insulating coatings applied many years ago. We sprayed on insulation paint to prevent the unit from degrading due to moisture, mold, dirt, and other contaminants. We easily repaired both problems, ensuring the heating system was in good condition and ready for winter. The client was happy we got their furnace working without additional repair or cost. Another happy client served by Pioneers Heating and Air!
You must take care of several things to ensure your furnace is running at its best, including the pilot light. While newer gas-fired furnaces use electronic ignition to light the main burner flame, many older furnaces still use a pilot flame. The nightmare of a malfunctioning furnace during winter is barely enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. Unfortunately, homeowners tend to think that pilot lights only need attention when they break.
A pilot light is an igniter that has been around since old times. It is present in older furnaces that run on natural gas, but not in electric furnaces. For the main burner to heat your home effectively, the system must first ignite the gas coming into the main burner. Pilot lights do this by mixing gas and air, causing an explosion that produces heat.
There will always be at least one safety device in a pilot light system: flame sensors and thermocouples. The purpose of these devices is to detect the flame and serve as an emergency cutoff switch. The flame sensors determine whether or not your furnace’s burners are operating properly. However, this is not for a pilot light, but for the burners themselves.
Thermocouples are copper rods that continuously sense heat from the pilot flame. The safety trigger will engage if the light does not strike the thermocouple. The concern is that you can release gas into your home if your pilot light is out, but your heating system is still trying to heat. The thermocouple promptly cuts off gas flow to the main gas burner and the pilot light if the flame goes out for any cause.
Undoubtedly, that poses a risk. Thus, it is crucial to address a malfunctioning pilot light immediately. If you suspect a thermocouple malfunction, you should immediately call a qualified HVAC technician to test your thermocouple and replace it with a new unit if needed.
Yes, many things can cause your pilot light to burn out. While some problems are simple to fix, others need a little more effort. For example, wind and moisture may dislodge your ventilation covers, further exposing your pilot light to the outdoors. In addition, your system gets fuel from the gas valve. There may be a problem with your gas valve if neither the pilot light nor the system turns on.
Meanwhile, your heat exchanger may break after years of heating and cooling. These cracks can change airflow within the system, which could cause your pilot light to go out. While you can check for small changes in your furnace, a skilled HVAC specialist should identify more complicated problems and perform any necessary heating repairs.
Taking care of a pilot light can be a pain. Yet, it is essential to ensure your furnace is working efficiently. So never attempt to fix a furnace pilot light yourself. Contact a professional HVAC technician instead. We at Pioneers Heating and Air can find out what is causing your furnace issues and then fix them for you.
If you live in Pasadena, CA, or anywhere in the San Gabriel Valley, call us at (626) 217-0559 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you!