Watch Your Pilot Light if You Don’t Want an Explosion

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Watch Your Pilot Light if You Don’t Want an Explosion

If you ever have occasion to look at an older gas heater, or furnace, you may notice a small blue flame as part of the equipment. This is known as the pilot light and when it’s on, it indicates that gas is flowing into your home.

In other words, a working light shows that your heater is functioning correctly.

Natural gas flame

If it ever goes out, perhaps due to a draft in the room where the furnace is located, the gas comes out of the pilot light tube unhindered. The gas may collect inside your home. A spark or lighted match hitting that collection could cause an explosion. Fortunately, the tube has a valve that automatically cuts off the gas whenever the light shuts off.

While this means your home is protected from potentially dangerous collections of gas, it also means your rooms receive no heat because the furnace is off. You must relight the flame, typically by pushing a button that manually opens the valve. While pressing this button, you light the gas with a match or lighter. You can then let go of the button.

Most modern heaters have dispensed with the pilot light because it wastes gas that could be using to heat your home. Instead, when you push a button, a piezoelectric spark automatically generates the flame without you having to fuss with matches.

If your heater does not seem to be working, whether or not it uses a pilot light, or if you need it checked to make sure it’s working for colder weather, please contact us.

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Topics: heatingFURNACEfolkes heating and airfolkesexplosionsparkgas heatinggaspilot light

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