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Rentmeister Total Home Service Blog

Help! My Boiler’s Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit!

While other parts of the country are preparing for warmer weather in the coming weeks—and prepping your air conditioner for summer now is a great idea—we are still dealing with chillier temps in our area, especially at night. As such, it’s vital that our heating systems still function to their full capability to keep us comfortable through the rest of the heating season. So what if your boiler won’t stay lit?

First off, when you are having boiler problems, you can count on our heating services to get your system back up and running. In the meantime, we’d like to help you understand what exactly is going on with your system.

Troubleshooting Pilot Light Problems

First, it’s important to understand just what the pilot light is. It is a flame that burns beneath your boiler for 24-hours a day. It’s used to actually light the burners, which power the boiler when your heat is turned on. Pilot lights are actually prone to go out without reason, and relighting them is usually a simple task. If it’s not staying lit though, then you’re probably dealing with a thermocouple issue.

The thermocouple of a boiler system is a long metal wire that acts as a heat sensor for the pilot light. One end of this wire is installed near the flame to be heated by it, and the other end is connected to the gas valve. When this component is heated by the pilot light, it creates an electrical current, which travels to the gas valve, keeping it open. If the pilot light goes out, then the electrical current stops, and the gas valve closes.

This is a safety feature to prevent gas from leaking into your home. Therefore, if the thermocouple is malfunctioning, it won’t be able to keep the gas valve open, cutting off the supply of fuel to the pilot light, and thus smoldering it.

Could Your Boiler Be Kettling?

This is another fairly common issue related to a boiler not staying lit. Kettling happens when hard water—the accumulation of minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water—flows through the boiler’s heat exchanger. Over time, hard water can deposit its minerals in the heat exchanger, until they eventually block the flow of water. This causes the boiler to shut itself off as a safety feature so that there is no build-up of dangerous water pressure.

For superior HVAC services in the Layton area and beyond, reach out to your heating and cooling experts at Rentmeister Total Home Service today!

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