A Helpful Guide to Fixing Pilot Light Issues on Your HVAC System

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The pilot light is a crucial component of many heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It's a small flame that ignites the gas burner in your furnace or water heater. When functioning properly, the pilot light burns with a steady blue flame. But when it goes out or flickers inconsistently, it can disrupt your HVAC system's functionality. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you troubleshoot and fix common pilot light issues.

1. Check the Gas Supply

If your pilot light won't stay lit, the first thing you should do is check your gas supply. Make sure the gas valve is turned on and that there are no disruptions to your gas supply. If everything seems fine but the pilot light still won't ignite, you may have a problem with the gas line, which should be addressed by a professional.

2. Clean the Pilot Light Orifice

A dirty or clogged pilot light orifice can cause your pilot light to go out. The pilot light orifice controls the flow of gas to the pilot light. Over time, it can become clogged with dust or debris and restrict the gas flow. To clean the pilot light orifice, first, turn off the gas supply. Then, use a needle or thin wire to gently remove any debris from the orifice.

3. Adjust the Flame Height

If your pilot light is too small, it may not generate enough heat to keep the thermocouple activated, causing the pilot light to go out. You can adjust the flame height by turning the pilot adjust screw on the gas valve. Turn it clockwise to reduce the flame or counterclockwise to increase it.

4. Check the Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a safety device that detects the presence of a lit pilot light. If it fails to sense the heat emitted by the pilot light, it automatically shuts off the gas supply to prevent any potential gas leaks. If your pilot light goes out immediately after releasing the pilot light button, it may indicate a faulty thermocouple. In such cases, you may need to adjust its position to ensure it is closer to the flame or consider replacing it if it is found to be defective.

5. Inspect the Safety Switch

Some HVAC systems have a safety switch that cuts off the gas supply if the furnace door is open. If this switch is broken or misaligned, it can cause the pilot light to go out. Check to make sure the furnace door is securely closed and the safety switch is functioning properly.

Remember, working with gas appliances can be dangerous. Contact a local HVAC repair service to learn more.