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Why Won’t My Pilot Light Stay Lit?

Your furnace’s pilot light provides the flame that ignites the gas coming out of its burner. If your pilot light is out, your furnace will be unable to provide any heat to your home. Don’t worry – all modern furnaces have a fail-safe device that keeps gas from continuing to fill the burner. Once your pilot light goes out, you will have to open your furnace and relight it manually. A pilot light that won’t stay lit can be a constant source of frustration, so read on to learn why this might be happening to your furnace.

Possibility #1: Dirty Pilot Light

When your pilot light is on, take a look at the flame. It should be a strong blue flame. If it small, flickering, or yellow-orange, your pilot light’s tip might be dirty or corroded. This impedes the flow of gas, making your pilot light weak and more likely to go out. Turn off the gas valve on your furnace, then use a thin needle to clean out the hole in the tip of your pilot light. If it seems too corroded, you can remove the pilot assembly and buy a new one to replace it for a relatively inexpensive fix.

Possibility #2: Faulty Thermocouple

Your furnace’s thermocouple senses whether your pilot light is on and shuts off the supply of gas if it does not detect a flame. This keeps gas from being released without a way to burn it up. If the thermocouple is dirty, misaligned, or malfunctioning, it might fail to detect your pilot light and shut off the gas supply, which will then cause your pilot light to go out. Take a look at a diagram of your furnace (most likely available on the manufacturer’s website or in your manual) and locate the thermocouple. Remove the heat sensing end and clean it. When you put it back, make sure it lines up with where the flame should be. If that doesn’t solve your problem, your thermocouple could be malfunctioning. You should contact a trusted HVAC company to take a look and replace it if needed.

Possibility #3: Drafts

If you can’t find any issue in your furnace that would cause your pilot light to go out, a draft of air may be blowing the flame out. Relight your pilot light and wait. If it starts to flicker, put your hand near it and see if you can feel any air currents. If it seems fine, pay special attention to the wind conditions around your home and see if windy weather correlates with your pilot light going out.

Possibility #4: Faulty Gas Regulator

Your home’s gas regulator controls the flow of natural gas not just to your furnace, but to all your gas appliances. If you have other gas appliances and are having issues with them, your gas regulator could be damaged or malfunctioning. If this is the case, your pilot light may sometimes not have enough gas to stay lit. The gas regulator is the responsibility of your natural gas provider, so call them to have someone come check it out.

The Best Way to Fix a Pilot Light That Won’t Stay Lit

While the reasons listed above are the most common issues that cause pilot light troubles, there are many other possibilities. The best way to get to the bottom of any pilot light problem and restore your furnace to working order is to call in a licensed HVAC professional. They’ll have the experience to diagnose your furnace and will know all the proper safety procedures to check for and prevent gas leaks.

For over six decades, Frymire Home Services has been providing expert furnace repair and maintenance in the Dallas area and beyond. Our service professionals offer you “A Higher Degree of Comfort,” backed with extensive training and the experience necessary to see that your furnace functions at top safety and efficiency. If you’re having issues with an unreliable pilot light, give us a call!

If your pilot light won’t stay on, trust the experts at Frymire Home Services for furnace inspection, repair, and maintenance in Dallas, TX. Call us at 972-913-2881 or contact us online today!

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