If you have a gas water heater, it has a pilot light. This small flame ignites the burner when the water heater is turned on. Unexpected cold morning showers can be annoying to start your day with, and it’s probably an issue with the pilot light. Without the pilot light, your water heater cannot function. So, what causes the pilot light to go out?
Dirty and Clogged Pilot Light Tube
If your pilot light keeps going out, one possible reason is that the pilot light tube is dirty or clogged. The flame sensor is responsible for detecting the flames of the pilot light and then sending a signal to the gas valve to open. Over time, dust and debris can build up inside the tube, preventing the signal from being sent and causing the gas valve to stay closed. As a result, the pilot light can become extinguished. Your plumber will clean using a small needle to open up the tube or replace the orifice with taking care of this problem.
Another potential reason your pilot light keeps going off is that there are issues with the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a metal rod that sits next to the pilot light flame. Its job is to sense when the pilot light is lit and to send a signal to the gas valve to keep the gas flowing. If there’s something wrong with the thermocouple, it may not be able to sense that the pilot light is lit, which will cause the gas valve to shut off and extinguish the flame. You should call a plumber to inspect the unit if you suspect the thermocouple is faulty.
Another potential cause of an extinguished pilot light is windy conditions. If there’s a draft near your water heater, it could cause the pilot light flame to be blown out. Wind can enter and extinguish the pilot light if there are gaps or cracks in your water heater. The best way to prevent this is to ensure there’s no draft near your water heater by keeping it well-insulated. For this, hire a plumber.
Insufficient Gas Flow
The pilot light needs a constant supply of gas to stay lit. If there isn’t enough gas flowing to the pilot light, it will eventually go out. This can be caused by everything from a clogged gas line to a faulty pressure regulator. A leaking gas line is a serious problem that a professional should address immediately. However, if you suspect your pilot light keeps going out because of a gas leak, do not attempt to fix it yourself—call a plumber in Fort Worth, TX.
Sudden Shock Waves
Shock waves are another possible culprit when it comes to extinguished pilot lights. These shockwaves can be caused by several things, such as a car driving by, a door slamming, or even loud noises. When these shockwaves hit the water heater, they can cause the pilot light to go out. Thankfully, relighting the pilot light is usually a relatively simple process. However, if the shockwaves continue to hit the water heater, it can become a vicious cycle as the pilot light keeps getting extinguished. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to figure out what is causing the shockwaves and take steps to reduce or eliminate them.
Improperly Sized Pilot Light
If your pilot light flame is too small or too large, it can cause problems with keeping it lit. An improperly sized flame can create instability within the chamber, which can blow out. Additionally, an oversized flame can overheat the thermocouple, causing damage and eventual failure. On the other hand, if the flame is too small, it won’t generate enough heat to activate the thermocouple properly. As a result, no signal will be sent to keep the gas valve open, and the pilot light will go out. You need to contact your plumber in Fort Worth, TX, to get the right pilot light for your water heater.
The Control Valve is Turned off
The gas valve has a knob that indicates when the pilot light is on or off. The control valve regulates the gas flow to the pilot light and needs to be in the “on” position for the pilot light to stay lit. A faulty control knob could be why the valve is not working well; it could be broken. A broken control valve needs a professional plumber to replace it. If you accidentally turn off the control valve, all you need to do is turn it on again, and your pilot light should turn back on.
The Flue Pipe is Blocked
The pilot light on your hot water heater might go out because the flue pipe is blocked. The flue pipe vents gas and fumes from the water heater. If it’s blocked, gas can’t escape and builds up, causing the pilot light to go out. A blockage can be caused by several things, including bird nests, rust, or debris. If you think the flue pipe might be blocked, call a professional plumber to your Fort Worth, TX property. Trying to clear a blockage yourself can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with working with gas lines.
You Have Hard Water
Hard water isn’t harmful to you but can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Over time, hard water mineral deposits can build up in your water heater’s pipes, eventually causing them to become blocked. This blockage can prevent fresh air from entering the combustion chamber, causing your pilot light to go out. To prevent this, have a plumber clean your pipes every few years.
Have a Pilot Light Issue? Call Us!
If your pilot light keeps going out, it can be frustrating—not to mention dangerous if you’re not careful. Fortunately, our plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth can help fix this. Call us today for a diagnosis and a long-term solution.