You wake up in the morning to frosted windows and a cold tile floor. You’re a little surprised to find that there is no heat. You walk downstairs to the furnace where you can tell right away that something’s not right. The furnace is cold and there’s no heat.
Upon examination, you find that the pilot light has gone out. Usually, it is a simple matter to relight it, but not this time since there is no heat in your home.
There are several reasons why a pilot light may not ignite.
- The gas is turned off. Check that the stop cocks are open, that is, parallel with the pipe.
- There is air trapped in the gas line. In a surprisingly short period of time, air will displace gas in an unused line. Depress the red button on the ignition system. This allows a small quantity of natural gas to be delivered into the line readying it for ignition.
- Soot and tar have built up around the jet where the gas exits the line. Remove the jet and clean with a wire brush and solvent. Be sure to let the solvent dry completely before igniting.
- The flame sensor is dirty or malfunctioning. This sensor prevents the accumulation of gas in the home. It turns off the system if it senses no pilot flame. Try cleaning any white buildup and, if that fails, replace the sensor.
These four solutions should solve 99 percent of your pilot light and no heat problems. They are easy fixes that anyone can do. In the other one percent of cases, the ignition system has probably completely failed and you will probably need to call a professional heating contractor to replace it.