What Does Furnace Pilot Light Out Mean?

If your pilot light’s out, it means that your furnace is not functioning. Fortunately, you can often figure out what caused it, and even fix the problem yourself. In many cases, the wind is to blame. If a strong gust has blown out your pilot light, you can try to relight the pilot light. Sometimes the pilot light problem goes deeper, and that’s when you’re better off calling a technician.

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What are Some Reasons My Pilot Light Might Be Out?

While wind can be to blame in most cases, an extinguished pilot light could point to a problem with part of your furnace, an empty propane tank, or your natural gas access.

It’s possible your thermocouple, which deactivates the gas when your pilot light goes out, failed. This part can fail if it gets dirty, if it’s lined up incorrectly, or breaks. It’s also easy for the pilot orifice to clog with dirt, causing a weak flame pattern or preventing a flame altogether.

In other cases, the problematic part is harder to locate. For instance, a bad gas regulator, or fluctuating flow of natural gas can also cause a pilot light to go out.

Can I Fix My Pilot Light Myself?

If the pilot light goes out from wind, dirt, debris, or an incorrect lined-up thermocouple, you may be able to fix the problem yourself (as long as you’re willing to move around some parts on your furnace). Remember you are dealing with gas and you know your mechanical abilities best. Make sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s lighting instructions for your appliance.

If you still can’t get the pilot light lit after cleaning or readjusting one of these parts, give an HVAC technician a call. But if you suspect a natural gas problem is involved, you can try contacting your utility company first.

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