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What to do if Your Gas Furnace Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit: An NJ Tech Explains

Sep. 27, 2019
Here’s our quick suggestion: If your gas furnace pilot light won’t stay lit, you should probably call a technician. More than likely, the issue with your pilot light will require a professional to diagnose and repair. 

However, a more detailed answer to what you should do if your pilot light won’t stay lit depends on why it’s not staying lit.

Some common reasons the flame isn’t staying lit include:
  • Bad thermocouple
  • A problem with the pilot light orifice
  • Old gas regulator
  • Faulty or damaged gas valve
Below, we’ll dive into each of these issues in more detail, so you can get a better idea of what to do if your pilot light isn’t staying lit. 

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Issue #1: Bad thermocouple

A furnace thermocouple is a safety feature that regulates gas flow to your system based on whether or not the pilot light is on.

In simple terms, the thermocouple checks to see if your pilot light flame is lit and turns off the gas flow if it senses that your pilot light is off, so you don’t have gas building up in your home.

However, if your thermocouple is damaged, dirty or bent, it may inaccurately sense that your pilot light is off and turn off the flow of gas to your system. Without any gas supply, your pilot light won’t stay lit.

The fix: Contact a professional. The fix here could be something as simple as having a technician clean your thermocouple or realign it.

Issue #2: A problem with the pilot light

To keep the pilot light lit, there has to be a consistent supply of gas flowing to the flame through something called the pilot light orifice. 

If this tube is clogged or dirty, there won’t be enough gas flow to keep the flame strong. If the flame isn’t strong enough, the thermocouple won’t be able to sense it and may shut off the supply of gas to the flame. 

You may have an issue with the pilot light orifice if you notice that your pilot light flame is a weak yellow color rather than blue.

The fix: Hire a professional to come take a look. In order to check out the pilot light orifice, a pro will need to remove the furnace’s burner assembly, which is not something you should be doing on your own. 
 

Issue #3: Old gas regulator

If you’ve noticed that the pilot lights of your other gas appliances are struggling to stay lit, this is likely your issue.

A gas regulator decreases the pressure of gas before it makes its way into your home and to your appliances. As your gas regulator ages, it can struggle to supply your home with a strong, consistent supply of gas, which can result in a gas pressure that’s not strong enough to keep your furnace’s flame lit.

The fix: Hire a professional. An HVAC technician should take a look at your current gas regulator and replace it if necessary. 
 

Issue #4: Faulty or damaged gas valve

Simply put, the gas valve supplies your pilot light with gas. If your gas valve is set to OFF or is faulty in some way, a consistent supply of gas won’t be delivered to your pilot light, resulting in a flame that goes out.

The fix: Check your gas valve. Is it set to OFF? If so, this is an easy fix, simply turn it to ON. However, if your gas valve is set to ON and you think this may be your issue, you’ll need to hire a professional. Unfortunately, faulty gas valves can’t really be repaired, so if this is the problem you’ll need a pro to replace it. 
 

Need help fixing your furnace pilot light? Hire NJ’s best techs 

If you have one of the issues listed above that requires the help of a professional, you want the best tech in your area to complete the job. We’re it. With 25 years of experience serving New Jersey homeowners, we can easily diagnose your issue and make any necessary repairs or replacements. 

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