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Fixing and Lighting Furnace Pilot Light for Seattle Homes

Furnace Pilot Light

Some furnaces are sensitive that the slightest of breezes can make the system’s pilot light go out. It is not a minor issue because the furnace can stop working when the thermostat is set to high. However, it is no cause for despair because fixing and lighting furnace pilot light for Seattle homes is something that is easy to do.

Sometimes, pilot light failure is due to normal wear and tear of an aging furnace. With a bit of knowledge and patience, you can start fixing and lighting furnace pilot light for Seattle homes in a minutes.

There are two types of furnaces. A gas furnace, usually an older model, has a standing pilot light. The newer and modern electric furnace has an electronic ignition.

Reasons why the pilot light goes out often

1.  The thermocouple

One of the main reasons why the pilot light keeps turning off is the thermocouple. If you do not know what this is, the thermocouple is a copper rod that is hit by the flame of the pilot light. It acts as the pilot light sensor. “Flame sensor” is another name for it. It ascertains that the heat from the burner is sufficient to handle the burning fuel. The thermocouple acts as a safety feature. It automatically shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out.

If the gas cannot be shut off by the thermocouple, the gas could enter your home. Thus, this small component performs a very big function.

Finding the thermocouple

Before you try to locate the thermocouple and check and fix the pilot light, see to it that the breaker is off and the gas valve is closed.

Bring the furnace manual and all the tools you need as well as a flashlight to avoid going back and forth to grab other tools. Use a screwdriver to remove the furnace cover. Find the pilot light. The tip of the copper rod is the thermocouple.

Sometimes it is difficult to locate the pilot light because different models may have different configurations. If your furnace is older, it may have a standing pilot light. Hot surface igniters or intermittent pilot lights are installed on newer furnaces. A hot surface igniter only lights when the command is given by the thermostat.

Whatever furnace model you have, the thermocouple will be close to the burners. The thermocouple would be a removable metal rod.

Reasons for the failure of the thermocouple

If the thermocouple cannot detect the flame, it will shut off the gas valve and prevent the furnace from properly functioning. The thermocouple could fail due to the following reasons:

  1. The flame cannot be detected by the burned out or broken thermocouple. The thermocouple costs very little and quite easy to replace. However, if you are not mechanically inclined, you can call a professional Fischer Heating technician to do it for you.
  2. The thermocouple could be dirty with soot, thus the flame is blocked. The thermocouple breaks down after regular exposure to heat. Ensure that it is always clean by removing it and passing a wire brush over it to remove dirt. You can use a coarse object, even a piece of paper to remove the soot or replace the component. Add this to the annual maintenance that you are able to do to your gas furnace.
  3. If the thermocouple is not correctly lined up, it will fail to function. The thermocouple rod’s top should be fully enveloped by the flame from the pilot light. If this does not happen the thermocouple will fail to read the flame and will shut off the gas valve.

2.  Dirty pilot opening

Another reason why the pilot light goes off open is a dirty pilot opening. The pilot light should be strong blue in color rather that yellow, which is a weak flame. When the flame is weak, it cannot fully envelope the thermocouple. Check to see if the opening is dirty. You have to disassemble the pilot to clean the pilot opening. Remove the debris with compressed air or pick the debris off with a needle. Call Fischer Heating if you do not know how to remove the pilot.

3.  Bad regulator

Sometimes, the failure of the pilot light is due to a bad regulator from the gas meter. It could not be supplying the right amount of gas to run the furnace. Call the utility company if this is the problem.

4.  High demand for gas

There could be nothing wrong with your gas furnace at all. The problem why the pilot goes on and off could be due to the fluctuating supply during peak consumption that lowers the gas capacity in your area. Ask your neighbors if they are experiencing the same thing before you call a furnace technician. You may need to call the utility company instead.

5.     Strong draft or bad flow of air

A strong draft could blow out the pilot light. If it re-alights quickly, then it is due to a natural cause. However, it could be due to a leak in the output duct. Call a Fischer Heating technician to check.

Lighting the Pilot Light of a Gas Furnace

Your furnace normally has a label with instructions for fixing and lighting furnace pilot light for Seattle homes. But there might be circumstances preventing you from reading the instructions.

  1. Locate the switch near the lower part of the furnace. The switch is either labeled ”on” and ”off” or ”pilot.” Put the switch in the ”off ” position and wait for five minutes so the gas can disperse into the air. This will prevent fire from accidentally. In the meantime, find the reset button, which is usually located near the switch.
  1. When the gas has dispersed, turn the switch to ”pilot” and hold the reset button down. Using a long lighter, bring it closer to the opening of the pilot light to re-ignite the standing pilot light of the gas furnace. Once the pilot flame is on, release the reset button.
  1. If the flame would not stay lit, the opening of the pilot light might be clogged. Turn the switch to the ”off” position again and use a fine wire to clean the opening. When you’re done, follow steps 1 and 2 again.

Please note that if you have followed the steps once or twice and the pilot flame does not light, there is something mechanically wrong with the gas furnace. Contact Fischer Heating and arrange for a technician to look over your furnace.

Moreover, see to it that the gas furnace is turned off before attempting to re-light the pilot light. Do not attempt to fix any problems with your gas furnace by yourself other than the pilot light. Make sure to use a long lighter or a long match for lighting the pilot light to avoid accidentally burning your hand.

Lighting the Pilot Light of a Gas Furnace

Your furnace normally has a label with instructions for fixing and lighting furnace pilot light for Seattle homes. But there might be circumstances preventing you from reading the instructions.

  1. Locate the switch near the lower part of the furnace. The switch is either labeled ”on” and ”off” or ”pilot.” Put the switch in the ”off” position and wait for five minutes so the gas can disperse into the air. This will prevent fire from accidentally. In the meantime, find the reset button, which is usually located near the switch.
  2. When the gas has dispersed, turn the switch to ”pilot” and hold the reset button down. Using a long lighter, bring it closer to the opening of the pilot light to re-ignite the standing pilot light of the gas furnace. Once the pilot flame is on, release the reset button.
  3. If the flame would not stay lit, the opening of the pilot light might be clogged. Turn the switch to the ”off” position again and use a fine wire to clean the opening. When you’re done, follow steps 1 and 2 again.
  4. Please note that if you have followed the steps once or twice and the pilot flame does not light, there is something mechanically wrong with the gas furnace. Contact Fischer Heating and arrange for a technician to look over your furnace.
  5. Moreover, see to it that the gas furnace is turned off before attempting to re-light the pilot light. Do not attempt to fix any problems with your gas furnace by yourself other than the pilot light. Make sure to use a long lighter or a long match for lighting the pilot light to avoid accidentally burning your hand.

Lighting the pilot light in an electric furnace

Most standard electric furnaces today use hot surface ignition although older models ignite heat with an intermittent pilot. For an electric furnace, a high voltage spark of electricity is what ignites the heat. It starts when the thermostat signals that the temperature inside the house is going down. If the pilot in the electric furnace fails to light, here are the steps to turn it on once again.

  1. One of the first things to do is to check if there is power. The furnace may not be connected to the appropriate electric source. Likewise, check if the power source is functioning properly.
  2. Use the ignition button to turn the electric furnace on again. There is also a red button close to the ignition button. Check your owner’s manual to locate the right buttons. Simultaneously press the two buttons. When the pilot light turns on, release the ignition button and keep pressing the smaller red button for another minute.
  3. If the pilot light of the electric furnace keeps turning off, the ignition button may need cleaning. Otherwise there could be a more serious problem with the electric furnace. This is repair work that cannot be done by an amateur. It is better to call Fischer Heating and request one of their professional furnace technicians to check on the problem.

There are some small DIY troubleshooting homeowners can do when fixing and lighting furnace pilot light for Seattle homes. However, if the problem goes beyond the methods of lighting or fixing the pilot light of a gas or electric furnace, it is time to call Fischer Heating at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 for professional heating system service and maintenance.



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