If you’ve got an older furnace or boiler with a standing pilot light, it’s not uncommon for the pilot light to go off once in a while. Some consumers even shut them off during the cooling season. It’s not difficult to light a pilot light, and you can usually find the directions on the back of the furnace door.

How to Light Your Pilot Light

Follow these steps to relight the pilot light:

  1. Open the furnace door panel for access to the pilot light.
  2. Turn the furnace off and locate the gas valve. Turn the knob to pilot position.
  3. Hold down the red button, and hold a match to the pilot burner. If you need a longer match, use a needle nose pliers to extend the match.
  4. While holding down the red button, light the pilot. Let go of the pilot, and the light should stay lit.
  5. Turn the gas valve knob back to the on position.

If the pilot light doesn’t stay lit, there may be other problems. Typical problems include a bad thermocouple, faulty gas valve, blocked orifice or a badly cracked heat exchanger. These types of issues usually require a furnace repair from an HVAC technician.

Why Does My Furnace Shut Off?

When a furnace turns on and then turns off a short time later, it is short cycling. There are a number of reasons why this happens. It could be that the furnace it too big. That’s why it’s important to have the unit properly sized before purchasing. Not only does short cycling cause indoor discomfort, it lowers the unit’s energy efficiency and increases the wear and tear of the unit. It also may be due to a clogged air filter. Dirty air filters reduce the airflow over the exchanger. During the heating season, it’s important to change the air filter at least once a month. As a result, the furnace overheats and shuts off. Sometimes, a faulty thermostat will cause the unit to short cycle. In this case, you can call a furnace repair technician to install a new thermostat. Another reason why your furnace may shut off is clogged drain lines. If the drain hose looks dirty, it may be restricted with mold growth or sediment. Remove the hose, and flush it with bleach and water. This should break up the clog.

HVAC Services and Products at Commonwealth Heating & Cooling

At Commonwealth Cooling & Heating, we offer service maintenance plans for furnaces and boilers to keep your unit running in good condition. If you’re not interested in a service plan, be sure to take advantage of our Internet coupons for seasonal tune-ups. In addition, we carry and install top name furnaces that are highly energy efficient. Be sure to call us if you’re in the market for a new furnace in Lorton, VA.