Here’s what you need to know about your pilot light
There’s nothing more frustrating than going to take a hot shower and finding that your water won’t heat up, or realizing that your gas furnace doesn’t seem to be working in the middle of a cold snap. In many cases, this simply means that your pilot light has gone out, which is usually an easy problem to fix.
How To Relight a Pilot Light
Fortunately, relighting a pilot light is safe and simple. Begin by turning off your water heater or gas furnace at the source, whether that is a power switch or the thermostat itself.
Next, locate the pilot light. This is usually near the bottom of the appliance, and it may be located in an out-of-the-way place or hidden behind a metal door or grate. Your owner’s manual should help you find it quickly.
When you find it, you should see the pilot burner, which resembles a small metal tube, and a little metal device called a thermocouple, as well as a gas valve nearby. The gas valve will have three positions for “off,” “on,” and “pilot.” Turn it to the pilot position and either hold down the red button or push down on the knob to keep the gas flowing.
As you hold down the button or knob, hold a match near the top of the pilot burner. You may need to use a long fireplace match or hold a regular short match with needle-nose pliers to be able to reach the burner.
Once the burner catches, continue to hold the button or knob down for 60 seconds, then release it. The pilot flame should remain lit. Turn the valve back to the on position, replace any panels or grates you might have removed, turn up your thermostat and enjoy your working heating system again.
When To Call For Help
In many cases, a pilot light going out isn’t a real problem. It can be caused by a temporary interruption in gas supply or a particularly heavy windstorm that causes a downdraft and blows it out. However, these should be rare events in a properly functioning heating system.
If your pilot light is going out more than once a year, it may be time to reach out to local heating companies, such as B & W Heating and Cooling in Granite City, Illinois. The problems can be caused by minor issues, such as a bad thermocouple or a simple buildup of dirt and grime. However, it can also be caused by potentially dangerous problems, such as bad venting or chimney problems, which can cause carbon monoxide buildup in your home. A qualified heating contractor can assess and diagnose the problem to keep your gas furnace or water heater functioning safely and efficiently.