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Does Pilot Light Go Out When Power Goes Out? (Explained)

Heaters, ovens and many more appliances which use gas require some kind of ignition that will help them start. This is where pilot light comes in. A pilot light is a part of any gas-related appliance which requires it to start burning gas.

You may ask if the pilot light goes out when power goes out. Let us help get the answer you are looking for and let you know some necessary facts about it as well.

Does pilot light go out when power goes out?

The pilot light does go out when the power goes out. In every appliance, there is a safety mechanism that helps to prevent any kind of mishap. This feature is known as a thermocouple. When it detects a power outage, it will automatically turn off the pilot light for your safety.

Gas appliances come with a pilot light. The task of a pilot light is to ignite the gas that is coming into the appliance. It does it by providing a spark in most cases. So, pilot light is important when it comes to gas appliances.

But some gas appliances come with a safety feature. This feature prevents the pilot light from burning when the electricity is gone. 

The reason behind doing this is that sometimes various harmful things can happen by the gas appliance that is using a pilot light when the electricity comes back.

As the electricity comes back suddenly, it may not be possible for some to manually shut down the gas source. Therefore, a safety feature was made which is named a thermocouple. This feature helps the gas flow by keeping the valve open to the pilot light. 

It also controls the flow of gas inside the appliance.

The thermocouple stops the flow of gas whenever there is a power outage. It closes the valve of the gas line that provides gas to the pilot light. Therefore, the pilot light goes out when the power goes out. 

The pilot light will have to relight manually when the electricity is back or when it is out.

How do I know if my heater pilot light is out?

A pilot light is crucial for a gas appliance to keep running properly. Without it, the appliance cannot provide the service you may require. The same goes for if the pilot light is in a heater.

The most significant sign to know if your pilot light is out is that you will not get hot water or air from your heater. The reason is because the appliance is not creating any heat as there is no pilot light running to burn the gas that is getting in the appliance. 

Without the heat from the burning gas, you will not get warm water or air.

Another way to know if it is out is to check manually. You will have to open the panel of the heater where the pilot light is. If you see a blue light burning, then you can say that the pilot is running. Else, you can simply say that it is out and you have to turn it on manually.

Do I need to relight the furnace after a power outage?

Yes, you have to relight the furnace after a power outage. All gas appliances come with a safety feature that will prevent any kind of accident to happen and prevent any kind of wastage. That is where the safety feature thermocouple comes in.

A thermocouple is a safety feature that helps the control of gas in a gas appliance. It keeps the valve open when the electricity is up. 

But whenever the electricity is gone, the thermocouple will automatically detect the outage and will turn off the valve of the gas that was provided to the pilot light.

So, when the electricity comes back, the appliance will not work. The reason is that the pilot light is not burning and it will have to relight manually when the electricity comes back to properly make the appliance run.

What causes a pilot light to go out?

As pilot light is a necessary part of a gas appliance, it must work properly. But there are many reasons why a pilot light can go out. Here are a few causes that you need to know that causes this problem:

Malfunctioning thermocouple:

Although thermocouples are made as a safety feature for any gas appliances, this crucial feature may malfunction. As thermocouples control the flow of gas in the appliance, if it malfunctions or gets dirty, it may cause errors in the supply of gas. 

Therefore, the pilot light may not get gas and will go out here and there.

Bad airflow and venting:

It is common for a pilot light to go out due to a simple airflow. This is called bad airflow. If any airflow is going towards the pilot light, it causes it to go out. Even if the venting of the gas appliance is not done properly, it can cause the pilot light to go out as well.

Heat exchanger getting damaged:

One of the most common reasons for a pilot light to go out is a damaged heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger may cause an impact on air pressure and vent inside the combustion chamber. This may cause the pilot light to go out.

Problems with the gas valve and supply:

The main thing that keeps a pilot light up is the constant flow of gas to it. Whenever the flow of gas stops, it will stop burning. When the valve is lowered or even if the supply of gas is low, it can cause the pilot light to go out.

Old worn-out gas appliance:

If your pilot light is going out often, then it might be that your gas appliance has become old. Most gas appliances after 15 years of usage tend to have problems like pilot lights getting out here and there. This is due to dirty, worn and ineffective appliances.

What do I do if my pilot light keeps going out?

There are many reasons why a pilot light may keep going off. Therefore, you may ask how you can solve this issue. Let us help you know some tips about what you can do if your pilot light keeps going out:

Check the gas valve and supply:

You should check if the gas line to the pilot is properly open or not. If it is not fully open, open it. Also, check the supply of gas in the pipe. If it is lower than the usual, search for the reason behind it and solve it.

Check the airflow and venting:

Direct airflow to the pilot light can cause it to go out often. Check if there is any direct airflow to the pilot light or not. If there is any, remove it. Also, check the venting of the gas appliance. Clogged venting may cause this issue. So, keep the venting as clean as possible.

Change the thermocouple:

The thermocouple may also cause this issue. If it is malfunctioning, then it needs to be replaced so that the pilot light in the gas appliance can get a proper amount of gas.

Replace the heat exchanger:

If the heat exchanger is damaged in some way, it may cause issues with the pilot light. Therefore, you should change it if you see any visible cracks on it.

Replace the old appliance:

If your gas appliance has aged, it may be the reason why the pilot light is going out. As appliances become dirty, worn and ineffective throughout time, it will be a better idea if you just get a new one if your existing one is old.

Is it OK to leave the pilot light on in a gas fireplace?

It is OK to leave the pilot light on in a gas fireplace but is not recommended. You may keep the pilot light of your gas fireplace on indefinitely. This will not cause any actual problems. But it is not recommended by anyone.

The reason behind it is that if you keep your pilot light on when not required, it may waste a lot of gas. Gas is a limited product. So, although you can keep it on, it is highly not recommended by anyone to always keep it on.

Another reason why you should not do this is that it will cost you a lot of money. Keeping the pilot light on all the time will burn your gas. So, if you keep running it even when you do not need it, it may end up as a financial burden for you.

Final Thoughts

The pilot light goes out when there is a power outage. This happens because of the safety feature called a thermocouple. But there may be other factors that can cause this problem. So, you should investigate the issue properly to identify the actual cause of this.