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What Causes a Gas Furnace Pilot Light to Go Out?

small_10361495395One of the most common problems with aging furnaces in St. Louis area homes is when the pilot light goes out. Depending on the source of the problem, this can either be a one-time incident or something that happens over and over again. Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common reasons that a gas furnace pilot light would go out and what you should do if it happens to you!

What is a gas furnace pilot light?

A pilot light is a small, continuously burning flame that is used to ignite the burners in older gas furnaces. The flame is monitored by something called a thermocouple that is designed to shut off the gas valve to the pilot light in the event that it extinguishes or burns inefficiently.

Today’s furnaces use an electric igniter instead of a gas-powered pilot light.

How can a gas furnace pilot light go out?

If you have an older gas furnace with a pilot light, there’s a good chance that the light has gone out at some point or another. This can happen for several different reasons, including:

  • Inefficiently burning flame. Normally, your pilot light should be burning bright blue. If it begins to burn a different color (particularly yellow), then something is forcing the flame to burn inefficiently. Your thermocouple will sense this and shut off the gas valve to your pilot light.
  • Malfunctioning thermocouple. Often times, pilot lights go out because of something that goes wrong with the furnace’s thermocouple. If your thermocouple malfunctions, you might need to have it replaced by Jerry Kelly.
  • Dirt buildup around the pilot light. Dirt buildup is problematic for many parts of your furnace, including the area around your pilot light. For example, dirt can build up in the intake valve and restrict the amount of oxygen that is required to keep the pilot light burning efficiently.
  • A strong draft. Every once in a while, your pilot light can go out due to nothing other than a strong draft around your furnace.

What should you do if your gas furnace pilot light goes out?

Most furnaces have instructions printed on them that will tell you how to relight your pilot light. This is a relatively simple task that should only take a minute. If you have any questions about how to relight your pilot light, refer to your furnace’s owner’s manual or contact Jerry Kelly.

Once your pilot light is relit, look to ensure that the flame is burning blue. If it’s not, or if your pilot light goes out repeatedly, be sure to give us a call so that we can determine and fix the problem for you.

Schedule Gas Furnace Repair in St. Charle, MO

If you have any questions about a gas furnace’s pilot light, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles heating and cooling contractor. We service the St. Louis area, including towns like Dardenne Prairie, Des Peres and Frontenac. For the convenience of our customers, Jerry Kelly is open from 8 AM to 8 PM, eight days a week!

When you choose Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, you’re partnering with a firm that has built its reputation on superior service. This customer commitment is evident in everything we do, and includes:

  • Professional approach of all team members
  • Cheerful technicians who are happy to help
  • Meticulous vehicles & tidy uniforms
  • Respect for you, your family & personal property
  • Budget-friendly equipment & installation recommendations

To schedule gas furnace repair service or speak with our knowledgeable technicians about your pilot light issues, call 636-373-9220 or contact us online today.