Many older gas furnaces still utilize pilot lights as their means of ignition. While generally reliable, such pilot lights are liable to develop problems from to time. One of the most common is an irregular flame–one that often causes the furnace to fail to light properly. If you would like to learn more about the causes of this frustrating problem, read on. This article will offer a useful troubleshooting guide for this common furnace maintenance problem.
An irregular flame can manifest in a number of ways. It may be that the flame appears excessively small. Likewise, it may be the wrong color–yellow rather than orange-blue. Finally, it may be that the flame seems to flicker and sputter in a strange manner. Almost all of these problems stem from a single cause: improper gas flow. More specifically, the problem is that an insufficient amount of gas is flowing through the pilot orifice. This is generally caused by one of two things: a poorly adjusted gas valve, or foreign debris inside of the pilot tube.
The appropriate fix for a clogged pilot tube is to turn off the gas and carefully remove any foreign matter or carbon deposits with a pipe cleaner or tool. This often requires that the pilot assembly be partially disassembled, so it is a job best left to a true professional.
A poorly adjusted gas valve also requires a technical knowledge not possessed by most amateurs. Here the trick is to gradually increase the amount of gas being allowed into the pilot assembly until an appropriately sized–and appropriately behaving–flame results.
If you believe that your pilot light is in need of repair, feel free to contact Minnesota’s HVAC professionals at Metro Heating & Cooling.