Has your furnace’s pilot light gone out? Most older gas furnaces are dependent upon a pilot light. To generate heat, they expose natural gas to a small flame. The pilot light is responsible for producing this small flame. It will produce a small but steady flame within the burner assembly that ignites the natural gas.
As long as your furnace is running, the pilot light should stay. Pilot lights may go out prematurely, however. It may turn on initially when heating your home, only to go out before your furnace completes its heating cycle.
Check the Thermostat
An incorrect thermostat setting may cause your furnace’s pilot light to go out. Like most furnace parts, the pilot light works automatically in response to the settings on the thermostat. It will only produce a flame when there’s a demand for heat. If you discover your furnace’s pilot light has gone out, make sure the thermostat is set to heat – and the temperature for which it’s set is higher than the current indoor temperature.
Check the Gas Shutoff Valve
In addition to the thermostat, you should check the gas shut-off valve. Homes that are supplied with natural gas typically have a gas shutoff valve. Also known as a main shutoff valve, it allows you to control the flow of natural gas to your home.
If you or someone else engaged the gas shutoff valve, your furnace won’t receive any natural gas. Pilot lights require natural gas. Without natural gas, they won’t be able to produce a flame.
Manually Relight It
You may be able to manually relight the pilot light. Different furnaces have different types of pilot lights. Some of them have a simple button that you can press to relight the pilot light. Pressing and holding the button for 30 to 60 seconds should relight it.
Other furnaces have a knob for the pilot light. You’ll typically need to turn the knob to the “off” position, after which can turn it back to the “pilot” position. Knobs may or may not feature a “reset” button, which you can use to reset the pilot light.
Contact a Professional
If you’re unable to relight the pilot light, you should contact a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) technician. Maybe the pilot light has failed, or perhaps the thermocouple has failed. An HVAC technician can troubleshoot your furnace to determine why the pilot light isn’t staying lit.