A common sight on boilers across the country, a pilot light provides a permanent ignition system for the gas supplying the heat for your home or business needs. In most appliances, the pilot light remains lit 24/7. For various reasons, however, it may be extinguished. From an inefficient flame through to a faulty or dirty thermo-couple, there are several possible reasons a pilot light might fail.
When the pilot light is out, does this mean that the gas which usually powers it is escaping into the atmosphere? Although this is an area of concern for many people, the reality is that boilers are built so that the gas supply to the pilot light is shut off if the flame goes out. Whilst the cause of pilot light failure needs to be investigated, extinguished pilot lights aren’t going to cause a gas leak.
How is the gas shut off when a pilot light fails?
The gas supply is controlled through a thermo-couple, this is an electronically powered valve that’s activated by the gas flame from the pilot light. When the pilot light is lit, the heat generated creates an electrical current in the thermocouple. This provides the power needed to keep the gas supply valve open. When the pilot light fails, the source of heat is removed. This causes the valve to shut, cutting off the gas supply automatically. The use of the thermocouple provides a valuable safety feature on modern boilers, meaning there’s no immediate cause for concern should the pilot light go out.
What should I do if the pilot light goes out?
In the absence of any other boiler symptoms, we recommend attempting to relight the pilot light a couple of times. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to do this. Always make sure that the gas valve is switched off and that you have allowed a few minutes for any gas present to dissipate before attempting to relight the pilot light.
Pinnacle Plumbing offers a complete solution to your plumbing needs: fast, affordable, and competent, we are able to fix pilot lights, as well as a large number of other boiler issues. Call us to book an engineer.