While most homes have newer heating systems with electronic ignitions, there are still many houses with older furnaces that have standing pilot lights to ignite the burner. A yellow pilot light is a sure sign of a problem, so let’s do some pilot light troubleshooting and discuss possible solutions.
What should a pilot light look like?
A pilot light should always burn blue, which indicates that it’s getting enough oxygen. If the airflow to the pilot light is restricted, the flame doesn’t get enough oxygen and becomes a “lazy” flame, which burns yellow. The most common cause for this is dirt blocking the air intake valve.
Lazy flames are yellow because of incomplete combustion, which is caused by the lack of oxygen. If just the tip of the flame is yellow, the airflow is partially blocked. If it’s completely yellow, the airflow is significantly restricted.
What Happens if Your Pilot Light is Yellow
A lazy pilot light flame causes two problems. The first is that the pilot light will frequently go out because the flame isn’t hot enough to heat the thermocouple (heat sensor) and keep the gas valve open. Without gas, the flame goes out.
A lazy flame can also cause a dangerous carbon monoxide leak. Because the flame isn’t getting enough oxygen, it can’t burn all of the gas supplied to keep it lit. This causes carbon monoxide to escape into your home, which is a serious health risk.
Fixing a Yellow Pilot Light
To fix a yellow pilot light, homeowners should call a professional company, like Lee’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing to remove the blockage in the intake valve. This must be done by an experienced technician who knows how to access and clean the part to prevent damage to the furnace. However, your home and family will still be vulnerable to the dangers of a lazy flame in the future and may have to pay for further repairs.
To completely eliminate the problems caused by a yellow pilot light, consider investing in heater replacement. New furnaces have electronic ignitions that don’t require a steady stream of gas to be supplied to the pilot light. This will not only save you money but also prevent dangerous carbon monoxide exposure from a lazy flame.
If you need furnace installation services, contact Lee’s Air today and begin your service request.