You know how cold it can get around Wichita, Kansas in the winter, so you know that maintaining proper heating is not a choice when the cold weather comes around. That said, things do happen where equipment breaks down and requires repair, or, at worst, a replacement. However, before you panic, you should first check on your furnace pilot light. It is a crucial portion of your furnace system. If the flame accidentally blows out, your furnace will not be able to carry out its duties of warming your home appropriately and to a comfortable degree. Fortunately, the average homeowners have the ability to relight the furnace light on their own, eliminating the need to call in a professional. However, it can be dangerous, because there are a few ways that homeowners can get injured if they do not go about the process the right way. For example, if you smell gas or if you have any reason to believe that you have a gas leak, immediately turn off the furnace and leave the building to call the fire department. Then give us a call at Eck Services, your local Wichita, KS heating and cooling provider. You should never attempt to relight a pilot light when natural gas is still in the air. This can lead to explosions and fires. Here is a guide to relighting your furnace pilot light in the safest manner possible:

Read Your Furnace Owner’s Manual

It is very likely that your furnace owner’s manual provides precise information regarding relighting the pilot light of your particular furnace model. If you do not have a copy of your manual on hand, you can probably locate a copy online. You can then print it out for easy access while you proceed to relight the pilot.

Look for the Furnace Instruction Label

If you can’t find the manual anywhere, don’t worry. Every furnace should have a label on it that tells you exactly how to light it appropriately. It may be small, and it may be difficult to read, but it is guaranteed to be on the unit somewhere. If necessary, bring a magnifying glass for clarity when you attempt to read it. If it is too dark to read in the basement, or wherever your furnace is located, bring a flashlight to see the label properly.

Make Sure the Furnace Is Off

You will first need to stop the flow of gas that is piped into the room where the furnace is located. That means you will need to turn off the furnace. Make sure the knob is pointed specifically to “OFF.”

Give the Air Time to Clear

Once the furnace is definitely off, give the area a few minutes to clear up. There will still be natural gas around you, and you will need it to dissipate before lighting anything. If you don’t abide by this step, there is a risk of setting a fire accidentally.

Turn the Furnace Knob to Pilot

Place the knob on the setting marked “PILOT” before even attempting to relight it. Remember, it must be turned off first. If you didn’t turn it off, follow the previous instructions.

Carefully Relight the Pilot Light

First, push the reset button with your non-dominant hand and relight the pilot, simultaneously, with your dominant hand. Be sure to do both at the exact same time. Once the flame adequately catches, release the reset button and the pilot should be re-lit. The safest way to accomplish this is with a long-stemmed lighter. These are the most common lighters for lighting candles. You don’t want to use a cigarette lighter, because you will need to get in very close to the pilot, which is easier without your hand and arm in the way. If you don’t have access to such a lighter, try a long match or a tightly rolled piece of paper. It is important to put distance between yourself and the pilot for safety reasons and in order to light it correctly.

Stay on Top of Issues

Keep an eye on the pilot light on your furnace for a few minutes. After some time has passed, has it remained lit? If you have followed all the instructions above and you have lit the pilot light multiple times only for it to blow out when you release the “RESET” button, then something is wrong with the furnace. This is when you will need to contact an HVAC professional to inspect your heating system. As a matter of fact, if the pilot light continues to extinguish, you should turn your furnace off and immediately call your HVAC company for emergency assistance. After all, it is possible that your pilot light originally went out because there is an issue with the furnace that needs attention. It may need to be repaired or replaced.

Reasons Pilot Lights Go Out

Your furnace may simply be old. If you have a natural gas or propane furnace that contains a standing pilot light, it is most likely over two decades old. That means it may have dirty components and parts, which may have also worn out over the years. When these pieces of your furnace malfunction, it can lead to your pilot light going out sporadically. For example, if your gas valve has an issue, it will not be able to reliably supply gas to the pilot light to keep it lit. Unfortunately, that is its sole purpose. If it is malfunctioning, it won’t do its job. This also occurs when the gas supply is low or depleted. Other possibilities include problems with the thermocouple or heat exchanger. The thermocouple is a safety device positioned very close to the flame of the pilot light that determines whether or not the pilot light is lit. When the thermocouple determines that the pilot light is on, the thermocouple keeps gas lines open. If the thermocouple malfunctions, it will automatically shut down the gas supply erroneously, killing the pilot light. Finally, a crack in the heat exchanger, a component that is used for transferring heat between sources and working fluids, can impact the venting and air pressure in the combustion chamber. Depending on where the crack is located, air may be blown inside the heat exchanger and onto the pilot light flame.

Trust Us for Your Furnace Repairs

So, is it safe to relight your own pilot light? That all depends on how you gauge your abilities to follow the above instructions. Many homeowners doubt that the procedure can be done safely without a highly trained heating and cooling professional. Most of the time, homeowners can relight their own pilot light, but if there is a possibility of any gas-related issues, it is always best to obtain the services of a professional. Skilled HVAC technicians will not only take care of relighting your furnace, but they should also be able to figure out why the flame went out initially. Therefore, by asking for the assistance of a heating and cooling company, you may avoid a complete system breakdown in the future. A professional HVAC company can also help keep your unit running safely and efficiently. If your pilot light is not relighting, you should never attempt any HVAC repairs on your own. Leave your air conditioning and heating repairs, installations, replacements, and maintenance up to the experts at Eck Services. We are your local Wichita, KS HVAC specialists, and we will get the job done correctly, safely, and quickly. Give us a call today for all of your HVAC needs as well as any of your plumbing or electrical needs. We handle it all.