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What is a Pilot Light?

Pilot Light 101

If you have a gas furnace, have you ever wondered how it turns itself on? Yes, partially due to the thermostat sending the signal that your home needs heat, but there’s a special device starting the flame that works to heat your house.

The pilot light is the ignition source for your gas furnace and allows the system to run seamlessly when operating properly. Here’s more information about pilot lights and why they’re so crucial for your heating system.

How They Work

Pilot lights are actually a small flame that burns within your furnace, apart from the main burners. In older units, the pilot light would run constantly, always ready to light the burners when you needed heat.

In modern furnaces, this usually isn’t the case, as it’s a waste of gas and can pose safety risks if the light went out. Newer gas appliances use electricity to light the burners.

Safety Features

There are built-in safety features meant to address the risks involved with running a gas pilot light. A thermocouple system is hooked up to the pilot light to detect when the flame is lit and if it ever goes out. If it does, the valve letting the gas out is closed, preventing a leak.

Relighting a Pilot Light

Pilot lights are different for each appliance, but the process of relighting a pilot light is fairly similar. Make sure the unit is off, and locate the pilot light. There should be a button that will open the closed gas valve and allow you to light the flame again. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to relight the flame, as there may be specific considerations for your appliance.

Your Home Heating Resource

Ostrom Electrical Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning is the trusted provider of home heating solutions for the Roanoke area. Contact our team today at (540) 253-1559 to discuss your home comfort needs.

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