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Tag: Furnace Maintenance

Why Won’t My Furnace Pilot Light Stay Lit?

Is your furnace pilot light refusing to stay on? Gas furnaces have a pilot light that ignites the furnace burner whenever it’s in use.

When this pilot light refuses to stay lit, that also means your gas furnace won’t work—leaving you with a freezing home.

There are several reasons why your furnace pilot light won’t stay lit, the most common being:

  • A faulty thermocouple
  • A broken gas regulator
  • A corroded pilot tip
  • An unknown draft

Keep reading to learn more about what’s causing your pilot light problem and its corresponding fixes.

Reasons Your Gas Furnace Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

If you notice anything wrong with your furnace pilot light, it’s a great idea to get furnace repair services to help fix the issue. While you wait for services to become available, you can use the following quick fixes to temporarily correct the problem.

Reason #1: Faulty Thermocouple (Flame Sensor)

The thermocouple is a long copper tube that controls the gas valve inside gas furnaces. It’s often referred to as the flame sensor because it turns the gas flow on and off in the furnace whenever it senses heat.

A broken flame sensor can be dangerous as it means the gas valve won’t automatically shut off when it needs to. As a result, gas from your furnace will start flowing into your home, putting everyone at risk.

Symptoms of a Faulty Thermocouple

A visual inspection is needed to determine if the problem truly is a faulty flame sensor. You can contact a professional to do the assessment for you. Or you may also check it yourself using the following steps:

  1. Locate the flame sensor inside your furnace
  2. Look for signs of cracks, holes, or discoloration in the tubes
  3. Check for signs of corrosion in the wirings
  4. Check for bare wires or missing insulations
  5. Look for physical damages that could be affecting the reliability of the connectors

If there aren’t any obvious signs of a problem, the issue may lie elsewhere. This may be a great time to get in touch with an HVAC professional to check your furnace functionality.

How to Fix a Faulty Flame Sensor?

There are two things you can do about a faulty gas furnace flame sensor: Cleaning or Replacement.

CLEANING A dirty flame sensor

Soot build-up can cause the flame sensor to stop working properly. A quick and deep clean should be able to help if that’s the case.

For this, you’ll need the following materials:

  • A screwdriver
  • Steel wool
  • Pencil eraser

After locating the dirty flame sensor, use the screwdriver to loosen it from the pilot assembly. Gently remove the soot from the flame sensor using a piece of steel wool.

DO NOT use any type of house cleaner on the flame sensor. This may cause unwanted damage to happen to the thermocouple.

Once you’re satisfied with the state of the probe, use the pencil eraser to clean the threaded end of the flame sensor.

Finally, reattach the thermocouple to the pilot assembly and see if the pilot light now works.

Replacing a Thermocouple

Gas furnace thermocouples come in different sizes. To ensure you get the right one, don’t forget to bring your broken thermocouple with you to the store.

If you’re unsure how to proceed with the process, getting a professional HVAC technician to help can save you from damaging your gas furnace further.

Reason #2: Broken Gas Regulator

If your pilot light refuses to stay lit, there could be something wrong with your gas regulator. This mechanism controls the gas pressure that flows to your furnace and other gas-powered appliances.

When this part is broken, gas pressure is reduced, resulting in your pilot light shutting down.

Symptoms of a Broken Gas Regulator

In cases where the gas regulator is the issue, signs can be observed in more than just one appliance in your home. Besides your gas furnace, make sure to check other gas-powered appliances such as burners, air conditioners, stoves, grills, and dryers.

If you notice that the gas pressure is low in any other appliance, it may not be getting enough gas from the supply.

How to Fix a Broken Gas Regulator?

The best solution to a broken gas regulator is a complete replacement. Repairs can be done; however, experts advise against it since the risk of doing something wrong is high.

Contact your gas supplier or an HVAC technician to inspect your gas furnace and assist you with any necessary procedures.

Reason #3: Corroded Pilot Tip

Furnaces, especially older models, have something called a pilot light that ignites the furnace’s burners when in use. A healthy pilot light flame is normally blue with a strongly-shaped cone.

If the flame you see on your furnace pilot is yellow, you may have a corroded pilot tip in your hands. This type of problem can interrupt the gas flow and disrupt the furnace heating cycle.

Types of Furnace Pilot

Furnace pilots typically come in two forms:

  • Traditional Standing Pilot Light
  • Electronic Intermittent Pilot Ignition (IPI)

The standing pilot light is a traditional ignition system found in most older furnaces. They’re referred to as “standing” because they have flames that stay lit regardless of whether the fireplace is on.

On the other hand, an IPI uses a modern ignition system for the pilot burner that works only when the system is hooked into an electric power source. It doesn’t have a constant flame like the standing pilot light; instead, it needs you to manually ignite the pilot every time you use it.

How to Clean a Corroded Standing Pilot Light Tip

After confirming that your pilot light tip is corroded, you may want to clean the tip to try and fix the problem. Cleaning your furnace’s pilot is simple:

  1. Twist the gas valve to turn off the gas supply to avoid accidentally igniting the furnace pilot. If the pilot tip is still hot, give it around 30 minutes to cool down before proceeding to the next step.
  2. After cooling the furnace’s pilot, take a small pin or needle and use that to remove any debris or dirt from the pilot orifices.
  3. Use a small blower to remove loose bits of dirt and dust that you’ve managed to pry out of the pilot light.
  4. Turn on the gas supply and see if anything has changed with your pilot light.

Are you getting a bluer, healthier flame? Is the furnace staying lit?

If so, the process was successful and you don’t have to worry about it happening again anytime soon.

Unfortunately, there might also be cases when cleaning might not be enough to solve the issue. In that case, you may want to contact a professional to give your furnace a little once-over.

Reason #4: Unknown Draft

Another issue that might be preventing your pilot light from staying lit is an unknown draft. Cold air can flow through open doors and windows—it can even sneak in through cracks or holes in the walls.

Drafts can make it harder for your furnace to heat the air inside your home. Furthermore, drafts can blow out the pilot light flame without you even knowing about it until later.

How to Check Your Home for a Draft?

The following techniques can help you determine if your home has an unknown draft that’s preventing your furnace burner from staying lit:

  • Stand close to your door and see if you can feel a soft breeze blowing on your skin. This means you probably have a draft somewhere near.
  • Carry a lit candle around your home and observe if it flickers or burns out. This means that a draft is nearby. Don’t forget to turn off appliances like fans and air conditioners. These appliances can cause disturbances in the air and can mask the presence of drafts in your house.
  • Take a coat hanger and hang a piece of plastic on one end of it. Hold it near your doors or windows and see if the bag blows up. If it does, this means there’s a draft somewhere near your windows or doors.

If none of these techniques work but you still suspect your home of having a draft, it might be time to contact a professional to do a complete sweep of your home. They’re more likely to have the right tools and materials to effectively spot drafts in your home .

How to Fix a Draft in Your Home?

The only way to fix a draft in your home is to identify where the draft is coming from and seal it off permanently. If you’re not confident in your DIY home improvement skills, hiring someone to do the repairs for you is ideal.

Another thing you can do is get a barrier for your furnace. This barrier goes in front of your furnace and prevents air from blowing out the pilot light flame.

One Stop Heating Helps You Determine and Fix Pilot Light Issues

To avoid experiencing pilot light issues, getting annual furnace maintenance is key. One Stop Heating has all the services you need to keep your gas furnaces in tip-top shape throughout the year. Whether you need professional heating system installation or emergency AC repair, you can trust our technicians to get the job done.

Let us take care of your pilot light issues while you take care of your family!

Call (801) 355-9500

All There Is to Know About Relighting the Gas Furnace

The chilly winter weather is not the right time for your furnace to break, but sometimes, it does. Modern furnaces have a burner that is either ignited electronically or with a standing pilot flame. Typically, older furnaces with an annual fuel utilization efficiency rate of 80% or less are ignited by the standing pilot flame. If your furnace was manufactured after approximately 2010, it will not have a pilot light; it has an electronic ignition system that is only activated when it’s needed.

The gas furnace standing pilot is also referred to as “the pilot light.” This is a small blue flame used to light up the natural gas from the main burner. It is this pilot light that keeps the burner lit all the time.

The standing pilot serves the purpose of igniting the gas burner. When a gas furnace begins to work, the thermostat signals gas delivery from the valve to the burner. As it flows, the standing pilot ignites the gas before it reaches the combustion chambers. When the standing pilot fails to work as expected, the gas is not lit, and therefore, the gas furnace has an operational failure.

There are many reasons why the pilot lights go off, leaving the homeowner in the cold. They include thermocouple malfunction, draft, and a weak burning flame. A typical flame is blue, and if it changes to yellow, there must be a reason why the burner is burning inefficiently. The thermocouple usually detects this kind of inefficiency, and it shuts off the gas valves.

Fortunately, the pilot light going out does not necessarily require costly repair. In fact, the homeowner is in a position to relight their heating systems pilot light easily and safely on almost all gas furnaces.

How to Relight the Furnace’s Standing Pilot Light?

It is common for older furnaces to go out, but it’s way more frustrating when you do not know how to relight it. The process is not complicated, but it differs slightly depending on the pilot’s valve type and the furnace model. It’s vital that before attempting to relight the stove you should first consult the instruction manual customarily found inside the furnace door cover.

There are two model types of pilot. One has a valve knob on its body assembly. This knob is either pressed down or depressed when lighting. The other pilot model has a gas valve with a red reset button. These two model types have the same procedure of relighting if the pilot flame goes out. As long as your furnace is the older model and has a standing pilot, here is the standard relighting procedure.

Gather Materials and Tools

To relight the pilot light, you need to first gather the necessary tools. You will require a long-handled match or lighter. If you can’t find the appropriate lighter, you can roll up a sturdy piece of paper or cardboard to use instead.

Read the Instructions Manual From the Manufacturer

Furnaces come with a prominent label with instructions on how to relight the pilot light. This label may not be easily visible because heating units are generally found in dark garages or basements. Take a flashlight to assist you with the instructions. If your furnace does not have the label, look for the manufacturer’s manual that came with the system and read the instructions. Still, if you can’t find the instructions, you can log on to the company’s website for the relevant information.

Turn the Gas Off

Almost at the bottom of the furnace, you will find a switch that has the settings “Pilot,” “On,” and “Off.” Find the switch and turn off the gas by turning it to the “Off” position. Give the gas between three to five minutes to dissipate. This is critical because if the gas does not dissipate it could start a fire. While you wait, take note of where the reset button is located, which is most often found near the switch you turned “Off.”

Find the Nozzle and the Pilot Tube

The nozzle and the pilot tube are located inside the furnace next to the gas burner tube assembly. Please find it and also have your lighter ready. The pilot is sometimes hard to reach, and therefore, it’s advisable to use a long fireplace match as you light it. You can also use a butane barbecue grill lighter. If that is not available, you can also fasten a match to a stick and light the pilot.

Set the Valve to Pilot and Light the Standing Pilot

Set the gas valve to pilot from “Off.” Place the ignited lighter or the lit match on the pilot’s tip, depress, and hold the knob or the reset button. Keep pushing the knob or button for about 30 seconds to maintain the gas flow until the thermocouple is hot enough to trigger the opening of the main gas valve.

Set the Gas Valve Back to “On”

If the pilot stays lit, release the knob or the button slowly and turn the gas knob from the pilot position back to “On.” This will ignite the burners and keep steady the gas flow supply to the burners.

Upon ignition of the furnace burners, regulate the thermostat to the appropriate settings. If the burner does not ignite, the reason could be that the thermocouple did not get heated enough to open the gas valves. Wait for some time and then replicate the same procedure. This time, hold down the reset button for about 60 seconds.

If, after following the procedure for relighting the furnace more than twice and the pilot light won’t stay lit, something is wrong with the furnace, and you need to enlist a professional’s assistance.

A healthy-looking flame should be blue with a tinge of yellow at its tips if the furnace runs on natural gas. If it runs on propane, the flame should be bluish-green also with a yellow touch at the tip.

A Partner You Can Trust

Suppose the fire furnace cannot relight at all. You must contact a professional HVAC specialist to get it checked. At One Stop Heating and Cooling, we have a team of skilled technicians that offer you service with a difference. We schedule our visits when it’s most appropriate for you and strive to keep you as comfortable as possible.

One Stop Heating and Cooling is a locally owned and operated company that has been providing all of the residents of Sandy, Utah, with great heating and cooling services since 2017. We are a Better Business Bureau-accredited and EPA-certified company. Other than heating and cooling services, our company offers various other services, including duct cleaning, indoor air quality services, AC installation, maintenance, and repair among others. While our technicians are extensively trained to fix Amana products, we can service any model of furnace or AC. For more information on our services and discounts, contact us today.

3 Ways to Clean Your Furnace

Did you know that a dirty furnace can’t run properly? Dirt and dust that collects in various areas of your furnace will cause restrictions in airflow. This will then place a significant strain on your furnace, preventing it from heating your home efficiently. The strain on your furnace will also eventually lead to breakdowns.

The best way to prevent harm to your furnace is to clean it regularly. You may think cleaning a furnace is a difficult task because it has so many parts and you don’t know which furnace parts need cleaning. However, cleaning your furnace can be done easily and keep your furnace running efficiently. Review these simple tips for cleaning your furnace.

Tip 1: Monitor Your Air Quality

Most people think of air quality and think about the irritants that affect their respiratory system. These irritants can eventually cause you to get sick. While this is certainly a concern, there is more to air quality than your own health.

For a furnace, dust, dirt, pollen and other debris can be quite harmful. These contaminants can clog up your furnace and prevent it from operating efficiently. For example, your furnace may not be able to produce the desired heat you want for your comfort level. Furthermore, these contaminants may cause your system to work harder and longer to meet your desired temperature needs. If this happens, you’re going to experience breakdowns that’ll lead to costly repairs in the future.

Did you know that heat affects the already low moisture in the air in the winter months? This low moisture content in the air can lead to more contaminants that are circulated when your furnace operates.

One of the best things you can do to improve your air quality is to manage your humidity levels. During the winter, consider running humidifiers to keep your indoor air from getting too dry. Accordingly, during the summer consider running a dehumidifier when the humidity is high.

The optimum humidity for a home is between 30% and 50%. This is enough moisture needed to help keep dust and other contaminants out of the air without encouraging mold and mildew to grow. By maintaining the optimum humidity levels, you could increase the life of your furnace.

Tip 2: Keep Everything Clean

The cleaner you keep your home and the area around your furnace, the better it will run. When you clean your filters, consider sweeping or vacuuming any dirt or dust that may have collected on them. If you vacuum your air filters often, then more air can pass freely through them and you could extend the life of your filter.

If you notice that your filters still appear dirty after cleaning or if you’re noticing less air volume flowing from your registers, it’s time to replace your filter.

Make sure to check your air filters often to ensure air can pass freely through them. Most air filters will last roughly 60 to 90 days. However, you may want to check them more often, especially during the drier months. Once you notice that your air filters are collecting dust on the intake side of the filter, it’s time to change them.

The filter isn’t the only component of a furnace you should keep clean. You should clean the surrounding areas of your furnace. Make sure to check for any fallen leaves, limbs or dirt near your furnace. If you see signs, then it’s time to perform an outside clean-up

Tip 3: Schedule Furnace Maintenance

Finally, be sure to schedule regular maintenance for your system. Your furnace should be serviced every year to ensure it’s working properly as you head into the coldest months.

During a regular maintenance visit, a technician will clean the difficult or hard-to-reach parts of your furnace. This usually includes your circulating fan, the heat exchanger, and the burners. The maintenance goes well beyond cleaning, too, and it includes inspecting and testing your entire system. This reduces your risk of having a furnace failure during the cold parts of the winter.

One Stop Heating & Cooling in Sandy, UT, has been the go-to service provider for furnace tune-ups for the last 20 years. Our team is trained to maintain and service all makes and models. Plus, we provide expert repair and installation for modern brands on the market. Call us today to schedule your furnace tune-up and get your system ready to handle the winter.

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