Gas furnaces are subject to a wide variety of potential errors and ailments. Yet none is more frequently encountered than the case of a pilot light that just won't seem to stay lit. The good news is that understanding this frustrating problem is much simpler than you likely realize. If you would like to learn more about addressing this issue, read on. This article will elucidate the most common cause of a pilot light that goes out again and again.

The Basics

Solving this problem first requires a thorough understanding of the way a pilot light works. The pilot light comes out of the pilot orifice, which is simply a thin metallic tube attached to the furnace's gas valve. One of the gates on the gas valve controls the flow of gas up and out of the pilot tube. So long as the light remains burning, the gate will stay open, thanks to a signal sent by the nearby thermocouple.

Yet when the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple will cool off and cease to supply the necessary electrical impulse. As a result, the pilot light's gas valve gate will close. This is a safety control meant to keep raw gas from leaking out into the air of your home. The thermocouple works by directly absorbing heat from the pilot light. So long as it remains above a given temperature threshold, it will keep the valve gate open.

Correct Lighting Procedure

Even in a perfectly functioning system, it is normal for a pilot light to go out now and then. This may be the result of non-mechanical circumstances such as a strong draft nearby. When this happens, it is necessary to relight the pilot. This is where many homeowners run into trouble, and find themselves dealing with a pilot that won't remain burning.

The answer here often has to do with incorrect light procedure. You see, when lighting the pilot, there is a manual override button that must be depressed. So long as the button is held down, gas will be permitted to flow up the orifice. What many people don't realize is that they have to continue holding this button down for several seconds after you've lit the pilot. This will give the thermocouple time to heat up and signal the gate to remain open. Letting go too soon--while the thermocouple is still cold--will result in the pilot light sputtering and going out once more.

Talk with a company like C & D Cooling & Heating Co for more advice about your pilot light.