Top 4 Reasons Why the Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit


The pilot light is a very important indicator showing the health of your heating system. When this pilot light won’t stay lit, there could be a problem that needs to be fixed immediately. The main problem homeowners encounter is that a number of technical issues could be behind this behavior of the pilot light and as such prove complicated for them.

The device that causes the abnormal behavior of the pilot light is called a thermocouple. This device detects whether the pilot light is on by generating an electric current which is powered by its heat. If the thermocouple cools, it indicates that the pilot light is off and thus shuts down the gas. A faulty thermocouple can lead to a number of problems. The following are some of the issues that lead to a faulty thermocouple.

Dirty Thermocouple

A dirty thermocouple is one of the reasons why it may not function properly and as such cause your pilot light to go off after a short time. Take time and inspect your pilot light by lighting it and then observing it closely and carefully. You will see the flame heating or touching the thermocouple. This helps in making the thermocouple visible enough for you to see whether it is dirty or not. If it is indeed dirty, the cleanup process is very simple because all you need is to sand it with fine sandpaper.

Bent Thermocouple

When your thermocouple has been bent out of the way, your pilot light may not be able to heat it. This in turn makes the thermocouple assume that because it is cold, the heater pilot is off and as such the supply gas should also be turned off. To solve this problem, just bend back the thermocouple so as to bring it closer to your pilot light.

Dirty Pilot Tube

When the pilot tube becomes dirty, the pilot light can be unreliable. If this be the case, you should fix it by turning off the gas and waiting for the pilot tube to cool off before using a needle to remove any possible blockages in the tube. Thereafter, test it to see whether the pilot light will work normally.

Damaged Thermocouple

Just like any other component, your thermocouple could be damaged and this may require that you repair or replace it. First of all, shut down the gas supply and wait for the furnace to cool before removing the cover and unbolting the thermocouple. The replacement process is much simpler and doesn’t necessarily need a technician.

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