Pilot Light on a Propane Furnace won't stay Lit

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  #1  
Old 10-27-08, 07:16 PM
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Question Pilot Light on a Propane Furnace won't stay Lit

That time of year again, eh?

We lit the pilot light a couple weeks ago, it stayed lit, we ran the furnace for 1/2 hour... everything seemed fine. We hadn't needed to use the furnace and didn't notice that it had gone out until this weekend when it got real cold. When my husband tried to light it again, it would go out every time he let go of the button.

He figured it needed a new thermocoupler so he took the burner/valve assembly into a furnace repair guy... and $75 (ouch!) bucks later a new thermocoupler was put in (before calling my husband with a quote even though it was requested).

Well... same deal. The pilot lights, but goes out as soon as you let go of the button.

Any ideas? What's frustrating is that 2 weeks ago everything worked just fine... and no, we didn't run out of propane
We can't afford to spend another $75 for another $15 part and some professional to blow on it. Sorry for the sarcasm... just very frustrated

If it helps... it's a Intertherm furnace model #MGHA-05GAAFC-01 and about 15 years old.
 

Last edited by CanadianIce; 10-27-08 at 07:19 PM. Reason: fixing boo-boo
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  #2  
Old 10-27-08, 08:13 PM
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Make sure the pilot light is wrapped around the thermocouple.
Make sure the other end of thermocouple is set into the gas valve.

if all above is fine, I have heard a new thermocouple can be bad.. Yu can find them at any hardware store, or home centers.. If a new one don't work, then it may be a bad gas valve.
 
  #3  
Old 10-28-08, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for the reply Jay.

I'm confused on what you mean by "Make sure the pilot light is wrapped around the thermocouple"
It looks like this...
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/...pliances-6.jpg ...and looks exactly the same as the old one did.

Or did you mean the flame of the pilot light? Doh... I probably need more coffee.


Is there any way to test a thermocouple? Like, does it make a sound or something... or can we test it with a multi-meter?
 
  #4  
Old 10-28-08, 08:31 AM
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No furnace expert, but.....
Make sure the flame is directly hitting the thermocouple.
I believe there is a way to test, but the voltage is very small. Normally a replacement is the easy way. I'm not sure what the exact procedure or results should be.

I would have thought if you took the whole assembly to a repair shop they would have tested it.

It's sounding like your gas valve could have a problem. Thats all the thermocouple does basically, is keep the gas flowing to the pilot after it has warmed up enough. If the pilot gets blown out somehow, the thermocouple cools and the gas valve closes.

Uhhh...have you tried tapping the gas valve with something like a screwdriver handle?
 
  #5  
Old 10-28-08, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
No furnace expert, but.....
I would have thought if you took the whole assembly to a repair shop they would have tested it.
No... the guy came in (he had been out when my husband dropped it off), changed the thermocouple and didn't do or look at anything else, not even testing it... but charged us $75


Could it be that the pilot light isn't hot enough? Maybe it has a speck of dirt in it or something? I think my husband mentioned that the flame is more yellow than blue/green. Is there a way either myself or my husband can clean that?
 
  #6  
Old 10-28-08, 09:13 AM
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I'll let one of the HVAC guys answer. It's a bit out of my knowlege base. I think it should be a clean blue/green (the ones I've had were), but no clue on any adjustments.

Oh, and doing a little reseach, I THINK the t-couple should be towards the tip of the flame, still fully in the flame, but towards the outside? I wouldn't worry about that til you get a Pro's answer on the flame color/adjustment.
 
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Old 10-28-08, 09:20 AM
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The flame should be just below the tip and wrapped 'around' the thermocouple. A yellowing/blue flame is fine, it doesn't take a lot of heat to make it work, it just has to hit the right part.

New parts can still be bad, and it's about $15 at most hardware stores and is SUPER easy to replace.

Also check the gas valve assembly, I saw one that was acting up and it turned out the knob you turned to select off/pilot/on wasn't turning completely because the knob had deformed.

Also, don't call that place again. Anyone that replaced a part, charges $75 (which is fair) but doesn't bother to make sure it works doesn't deserve a second chance.

Edit:
I reread your message and saw that he took the part to the guy, so that explains why he couldn't test it, and since you went to him, $75 is a bit much IMO.
 
  #8  
Old 10-28-08, 09:22 AM
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Ahhh here ya go, at least some reading....
http://homerepair.about.com/od/heati...ot_light_6.htm
 
  #9  
Old 10-28-08, 07:08 PM
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The hubby went to Canadian Tire... bought another thermocouple for $8. He then removed the "cost us $75 thermocouple". He made sure where the new $8 one goes into the valve was very clean so it would make a good connection... did a real fine pretty job on bending the excess tube & installing the new $8 one.

Then he put the valve/burner assembly back in, checked for leaks... and then lit the pilot while holding the button...




.... and waited




... and waited



.... and waited


.... after 60 seconds he let go of the button



.... *does happy dance*



IT STAYED LIT!!!!!


I want to thank you guys for your help!
 
  #10  
Old 10-28-08, 07:16 PM
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Jay said this before in another post. Go back to the guy who did the first work, with receipts for parts, and ask for some sort of reduction. At the very least, the cost he charged you for the part he put in, since apparently it was defective.

Glad you have heat...are you a confirmed doityourself.com person now?
 
  #11  
Old 10-28-08, 07:23 PM
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Glad to hear you got heat!

Gun said what I said in another post that I got their mixed up between the two!

(God I am only 37! hate to see what I'll be like when I am 45! )
 
  #12  
Old 10-28-08, 07:27 PM
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Yeah, he will definitely take the defective part back and ask for at least something back. If the guy doesn't... well, it is a small town

I'm glad I found this forum... people sharing knowledge and helping each other free of charge isn't all that easy to find. This place is great!


(God I am only 37! hate to see what I'll be like when I am 45! )
You're not as good as you once was, but as good as you'll ever be? LOL

Thanks again for all the help, guys.

And Gunguy.... just for luck he did tap the valve thingy with a screwdriver before lighting
 

Last edited by CanadianIce; 10-28-08 at 07:30 PM. Reason: adding stuff
  #13  
Old 10-28-08, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
Gun said what I said in another post that I got their mixed up between the two!

(God I am only 37! hate to see what I'll be like when I am 45! )
Watch it! There are some (technically, per AARP)) senior citizens on this board.
 
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