5 Reasons Why Your Pilot Light Keeps Going Out - Randazzo
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5 Reasons Why Your Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

focus on pilot light of a hot water heater with base plate on

So, your water heater’s pilot light keeps going out, turning your home into a cold and uncomfortable space. Now what? Well, there are a few things you can do. Here are several ways to ensure your pilot light works as it should. However, the best way to troubleshoot a faulty pilot light is to call a professional.

What Is a Pilot Light, and How Does It Work?

A pilot light is a small flame commonly seen in furnaces, fireplaces, and water heaters. This flame is responsible for igniting gas coming from the gas valve and main burner. The pilot light always remains burning. When it’s time to heat, the gas control valve releases gas into the main burner. 

That being said, pilot lights can go out—and when they do, it’s usually because of one of the following reasons.

5 Common Causes of a Pilot Light Going Out

Fixing a pilot light isn’t usually complicated, but it can be—and when it is, Randazzo is only a click away. If you’re having pilot light troubles, it might be because of the causes below.

1. Condensation

Condensation is a normal part of modern energy-efficient water heaters. Even though water heaters produce condensation, too much of it can actually drip into your pilot light’s tube. Of course, water and fire don’t mix, so the condensation will essentially water down your pilot light. 

Other reasons for excessive condensation production could be traced back to an undersized heater.

2. Improper Venting or Airflow

A water heater needs a steady air supply. Otherwise, the pilot light will go out. This tends to happen in direct vent gas water heaters. When airflow affects your pilot light, it’s usually a sign that there’s a draft somewhere near the base of your water heater. 

A water heater placed in an attic can also cause your pilot light to go out due to extra heat. Take a look around your space and make sure you’re sealing any holes, cracks, or areas where drafts can enter.

3. Dirty Thermocouple

Sometimes, the cause may lie in your thermocouple. A thermocouple is a sensor used to measure temperature. If this is dirty, your pilot light won’t be able to ignite properly. 

Upon discovering a dirty thermocouple, shut off your gas and let it cool. Then, grab a piece of very fine or superfine sandpaper and gently clean it with the grain. When you’re done, turn your gas, and the pilot light back on. If you scrubbed all the dirt off your thermocouple, you shouldn’t have a problem again.

4. The Pilot Doesn’t Light

A pilot light that won’t light can be caused by numerous reasons. Those reasons include:

  • An insecure wire connection
  • No gas supply to the unit
  • A blocked pilot line
  • A faulty thermocouple
  • Broken electrode
  • Carbon or soot buildup on the pilot light

5. The Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

If your pilot light lights but won’t stay lit, you could have a few different issues on your hands. The main reasons why a pilot light won’t stay lit include:

  • A dirty pilot light tube
  • Not enough gas or no gas at all
  • A faulty thermocouple
  • Air in the gas line
  • An open ECO switch
  • Malfunctioning gas valve or internal components

Have trouble troubleshooting your pilot light issues? That’s why we’re here. At Randazzo, you can count on our professional crew to handle your broken pilot light from start to finish. Contact us for a free quote.

How To Tell if It’s Working Properly

Now that you know what causes a defective pilot light, you’re probably wondering how you can tell if it’s working properly. The easiest way to tell if your pilot light is working is to take a peek at the color. Is it blue? If so, it’s working correctly. Any other color, like yellow or red, indicates a problem. 

Another way to check your pilot light is to observe the consistency of the flame. The flame should be a steady burn. Flickering or any other erratic movement means something is wrong.

Additionally, your pilot light should never split into two flames or have a weak burn. The light should be a single, strong-burning flame.

a close up of a blue flame on water heater

Why Randazzo?

Your water heater is an essential part of your home, so when its pilot light goes out, things can go awry quickly. Since 1988, Randazzo Heating, Cooling, and Electrical has been helping Detroit and Ann Arbor homeowners keep their pilot lights on and fix pressing issues quickly.

Thanks to our five-star ratings and A+ BBB rating, you can feel confident about choosing Randazzo for your next service. Our hot water heater professionals are here to help; all you have to do is give us a call. Learn more about your water heater options, including tankless.

Hear It From Our Customers

We’re known for our superior customer service.

“I had a team of six men who were polite, professional, punctual, and cleaned up!” — Stacey

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“The entire team was professional, flexible, informative, and thorough from the first phone call to set up an appointment, all the way through to the installation. Our salesman spent tons of time making sure we had the best product for our home and still was in communication with us on the day of installation.” — Rachel

Expert Water Heater Services in Southeastern Michigan

Daily tasks like laundry, showering, and washing the dishes all rely on your hot water heater. If your hot water heater’s pilot light has gone out, you’re likely left scratching your head as to why it happened in the first place. Leave the hard stuff to us and contact Randazzo for everything from HVAC installations to water heater repairs. Schedule today for great services and hassle-free pricing.

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