5 Reasons Why Your Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

If your pilot light keeps going out, it’ll prevent your furnace from staying lit and heating your home.

It’s likely your pilot light going out is caused by a dirty pilot opening, furnace isn’t getting enough oxygen, your gas is low, you have a broken or dirty flame sensor.

Below you’ll find out how to fix the 5 reasons why your pilot light keeps going out.

Let’s get started.

5 Reasons Why Your Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

1. Dirty Pilot Opening

If your pilot light opening is dirty, then you’ll have an uneven flame that is unstable.

If your flame is yellow and not blue, this is a sign that it’s not getting hot enough to heat your thermocouple.

To fix a dirty pilot opening, turn off your furnace completely and then clean anything that may be obstructing your pilot light from staying lit.

After you’ve cleaned the pilot light opening, your pilot light flame should stay lit.

2. Furnace Isn’t Getting Enough Oxygen

If the room your furnace is in is small, your pilot light may not be getting enough oxygen to stay lit.

This can be a dangerous scenario as carbon monoxide can become a problem if the room isn’t getting adequate airflow.

You can fix this by opening the door of the room your furnace is in or opening a window.

If your furnace stays lit after opening the door or window, then you’ll need to install ventilation within your furnace storage room to keep your pilot flame lit.

3. Gas is Low

If you’re running out of gas, your furnace pilot light will not be able to stay on.

You can try running warm water down your gas tank and then feeling the side of it. Wherever you feel that it’s cool, that means there is gas or propane there.

If you feel that it’s cool near the bottom of the tank, then that means your gas supply is low. You’ll need to call your gas company to come and refill your gas supply.

You can also check your other gas appliances like your gas water heater to see if it’s still working properly.

A faulty gas regulator could also causing an issue with the gas appliances in your home.

If all of your appliances are not working, the gas regulator or gas supply is to blame.

4. Broken Thermocouple

If your thermocouple has become damaged over time or bent, it will tell your gas valve to shut off.

If you’ve noticed that the thermocouple is bent, you can turn off your furnace, wait for it to cool down and bend it back into place.

This should fix the issue when your pilot light keeps going out.

5. Dirty Thermocouple

A thermocouple (or flame sensor) that is dirty will also prevent your furnace from staying lit.

If the flame sensor isn’t able to sense that there is a fire within your furnace, it will tell your furnace to shut down.

This is so that if your pilot light goes out, it prevents any chance of an explosion within the combustion chamber of your furnace.

The best way to clean a dirty thermocouple (or flame sensor) is by waiting for your furnace to cool down, removing the flame sensor, and then grinding down the soot or grit with light grit sandpaper.

Do not grind down the flame sensor, but put enough pressure to get it clean again.

Where is the Pilot Light on a Furnace?

The bottom of your furnace should have a switch that says “Pilot”, “Off” and “On”.

If you can’t find it near the bottom of your furnace, then follow the gas line which should lead to a pilot light.

If the gas valve only says “On” or “Off” that means you have an automatic igniting button.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Thermocouple?

To replace a thermocouple, it can cost upwards of $250. The part itself costs around $20-35 should you try to fix it yourself.

Should You Fix a Pilot Light Yourself?

Trying to fix a pilot light can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If your pilot light keeps going out and you aren’t sure what to do, then it’s best to call an HVAC professional that can help restore your furnace’s pilot light to working order.

While the problem may be as simple as a dirty thermocouple, working with gas can become a fire risk if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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