Have you ever looked at your furnace and seen a flickering flame? That’s your pilot light. But when that flame goes out, it can leave you in the cold — quite literally. When your pilot light goes out, there are a few things you can do to try and resolve the problem.

In the latest blog post from Sanborn’s, we’ll discuss what pilot lights are, what can cause them to go out, and what you can do about it. Keep reading below to learn more.

What is a Pilot Light?

Furnaces utilize a small, persistent flame, known as a pilot light, to kickstart the combustion process. The combustion process is what transforms fuel into heat, ensuring your home stays comfortably warm.

The pilot light serves as the system’s ignition source, ensuring your furnace can spring to life when needed. Without a pilot light, your furnace would be unable to provide your home with much-needed warmth during the cold winter months.

If your pilot light goes out, it’s important to know what you can do to keep the heat on and maintain warm temperatures throughout your home.

What Can Cause a Pilot Light to Go Out?

Knowing what caused your pilot light to go out can help you take the proper steps in relighting the pilot light. The most common causes behind pilot lights going out include:

  • Drafts or Wind: Sudden gusts of air can extinguish the pilot light, disrupting the combustion process.
  • Dirty Components: Accumulated dirt can interfere with the pilot light’s ability to stay lit.
  • Gas Supply Issues: Issues with the gas supply, such as low gas pressure or a faulty gas valve, may lead to the pilot light going out.
  • Thermocouple Malfunction: The thermocouple is a safety device that senses the pilot flame. If it malfunctions, it may shut off the gas supply, causing the pilot light to go out.
  • Electronic Ignition Problems: For furnaces with electronic ignition systems, issues with the ignition control module or spark igniter can result in a failure to light the pilot.
  • Improper Venting: Inadequate venting or blocked flue pipes can disrupt the proper flow of air and lead to the pilot light extinguishing.

What You Can Do if Your Pilot Light Goes Out

Investigate for Drafts

Check for any drafts or sudden gusts of air that might have extinguished the pilot light. Seal off any drafty areas around your furnace. Then, you can relight the pilot light to see if the problem was resolved.

Refer to Manufacturer’s Instructions

Consult your furnace’s manual for specific guidance on relighting the pilot light. Typically, there’s a reset button or a control knob involved. Follow the steps outlined by the manufacturer.

Inspect for Component Issues

Look for accumulated dirt or signs of a malfunctioning thermocouple. If you spot any issues, clean or replace the components as necessary. A well-maintained system is a happy system.

Call on the Professionals

When your pilot light goes out, we don’t recommend trying DIY fixes. Doing so can result in additional damage to the system and even harm to yourself. Call on your trusted team of HVAC technicians for furnace repair or replacement services if you can’t get to the bottom of your furnace pilot light problems.

Choose Sanborn’s for Furnace Services in the San Bernardino, Redlands, and the Inland Empire

Residents throughout the San Bernardino, Redlands, and Inland Empire areas can count on Sanborn’s for high-quality local furnace services. Whether you need to repair or replace your furnace, our team is ready to help your home stay safe and comfortable all winter long.

Give us a phone call or contact our team online today to schedule an appointment.