Did you know that during America’s colonial period colonists kept a little flame burning as a simple and accessible means to light a stove or fireplace whenever needed? They named this light a “pilot”, and it’s from this little historical “fun fact” we derive our modern gas furnace pilot lights. Funny to think that we can be less technologically up-to-date as were many early colonists when our pilot lights go out! Not so funny to think that during the freezing temperatures when you’re left with unreliable heat should your pilot lighter go out. Before you panic, F.H. Furr wants to give you a helpful “how-to” to keep that little of yours shining…
Having a knowledge of your pilot light will help to ensure that it's working properly. In order to function, it needs the help of the thermocouple, the tool that accompanies this device:
- An electronic gadget that senses the hotness of the pilot flame to determine if it is at the right temperature to ignite the natural gas or propane fuel burner
- The thermocouple produces electricity when it gets hot and permits the gas valve to open and close
- This device shuts off the burner gas valves flame if the pilot goes out and does not produce enough heat
So on to the real question: How do I relight my standing pilot light?
- Make sure your thermostat is at a heated setting
- Locate your gas furnace’s pilot valve (near the gas burners and boxy in shape)
- Rotate the knob or gas cock to turn it off (wait a few minutes after doing so to allow gas to dissipate)
- Locate the pilot (close to the gas burner tube assembly) and light it with a match (preferably long) or BBQ lighter
- Pilot’s with a reset button (red): change the gas valve from “Off” to “Pilot”
- For no reset button: rotate the knob from “Off” to “Pilot”
- Put the lit match or the BBQ lighter tip at the pilot. Press and hold the button (or decrease knob) for approximately 30 seconds. The sustained flow of gas to the pilot will get the thermocouple hot enough to release the gas valve
- Let go of the button slowly once the pilot stays lit the button or knob and turn the gas cock or knob from the "Pilot" to “On”. The burners should ignite and keep gas flowing.
If you have followed the above instructions and the burner does not light, your thermocouple probably was not hot enough. You should allow a few minutes for things to cool down and attempt the process again. Don’t forget to readjust your thermostat.
As always, F.H. Furr is able to help with any HVAC, plumbing, or electrical issues you may have! By staying knowledgable and up to date on your home's appliances and systems, you'll be able to tell when you've got a DIY project on your hands, or when it's time to call in the big guns! No matter what, you'll always receive "Absolutely the Best" service when you call us!