pilot won't stay lit

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  #1  
Old 02-21-11, 05:28 AM
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pilot won't stay lit

I have a Hamilton natural gas furnace. I've had trouble with the pilot light going out since the begining of winter. It would seem to stay lit better if I took the thermocoupler off, and cleaned it. Well, yesterday, it just wouldn't light no matter what, so I purchased a universal thermocoupler, put it in last night, and it seemed to work great all night, till this morning, woke up to a cold house. I tried to light it again, nothing. What could be wrong now, the valve? Ok, in addition, now I'm trying to warm up, the burner on the oven won't lite, it doesn't have a pilot, burners work fine, I have a gas water heater too, it's working ok, ran hot water till burner lit.
Ok, so now I turned off the breaker for the furnace, and the stove for about 5 minutes, turned em back on and the pilot lite for the furnace lit, and the oven burner lit. After this, I went out to the gas meter, and I turned the valve going into the meter, another whole turn counterclockwise, while furnace, and oven were running. Both were still running when I came in. Doesn't the valve come to a stopping point when it is all the way open? It could still be turned out some more, I didn't go any farther with it, cause I was afraid it would unscrew all the way. What's up?
 

Last edited by gearhead59; 02-21-11 at 07:45 AM.
  #2  
Old 02-21-11, 09:58 AM
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Typically there is no stopping point for the gas valve at a gas meter.

When the locking ears are together OR when the flat spots for a wrench are perpendicular to the gas pipe, the gas is off. When the flats are in line with the pipe, the gas is on.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 10:00 AM
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I forgot to mention that when I bought the thermocoupler yesterday, I took everything apart, burners out, pilot tube, and bracket, cleaned them all with a wire brush and an air compressor, then put it all back together, with new thermocoupler and it worked fine from about 8:00pm last nite, untill at least midnite when I went to bed, got up at 6:00am and pilot was out.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 10:03 AM
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That's what I was assuming, that the valve had to be lined up with the pipe to be on, crossways to be off.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 10:07 AM
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So, what could be going on with my pilot light in my furnace?
I've also had nothing but trouble with my gas stove since I moved in here in August, it won't get done preheating very quick at all, varies from 45 minutes to just 5 minutes, and sometimes after it's preheated, it won't hardly cook at all, not up to temp, I guess ! ? That's what leads me to believe it's a gas supply problem ! ?
 
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Old 02-21-11, 12:25 PM
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Call the gas company and explain the problems you are having and have them check the pressure to your house.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 04:07 PM
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I am pretty sure it's not a pressure problem cause I've had all gas appliances going at once, (just now), and they all were working properly. I had the oven going at 350 degrees, all four burners going full blast, the water heater going after running a bunch of hot water and the furnace going, all flames looked good and did not seem to lessen, or increase when one thing or another was turned on and off. So, back to the pilot light, why won't it stay lit, even after a new thermocoupler and a thourough cleaning?
 
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Old 02-21-11, 06:25 PM
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I resume you have lit the pilot light successfully in the past, is that correct?

You are turning the gas valve control to the "pilot" position, pushing down on the control and holding a match to the pilot burner?


Usually, if there is gas coming out of the pilot burner you can observe the gas blowing the match flame around even if it wont light. There are conditions where the gas is coming out but wont light. So hold your match to the pilot burner and push the control down a few times to see if the match flame is blown around by the gas coming out.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 07:39 PM
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I have it lit now, but I've had problems for months with it going out often, and it's hard to get it to stay lit. I changed the thermocoupler, cleaned everything, and it went out one time, last nite after I went to bed, bout 5 hours after I installed the new thermocoupler and cleaned everything. Works ok now, but if I leave during the day, I worry about it going out, and my pipes freezing, it just ain't right. Why ?
 
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Old 02-21-11, 09:34 PM
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You have to follow the directions you are given and answer the questions posed to you if you expect to get help.
 
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Old 02-22-11, 05:05 AM
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Yes, I'm turning the gas control valve to the "pilot" position, yes I'm pushing down on the control knob, and yes I'm using a long lighter, yes there is gas coming out, and yes, it is lighting, staying lit for hours, days, sometimes. You're misunderstanding me. I'm not having a problem getting the pilot light lit, IT WON'T STAY LIT ! Why? Thank you !
 
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Old 02-22-11, 09:39 AM
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The most common reason pilot lights go out is that the pilot burner and pilot orifice are dirty.

The pilot burner should be burning with a blue flame that is sharply focused like a small blow torch on the thermocouple, which should be engulfed by the pilot flame on the last 1/2" or so of the thermocouple.

If the flame is significantly yellow, or lazy like a candle flame, the pilot burner is dirty and needs to be disassembled and cleaned.

Please describe the appearance of your pilo burner flame.
 
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Old 02-22-11, 11:07 AM
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The flame is solid blue, no other colors whatsoever. The thermocoupler is new, (was doing same stuff with old one), mounted correctly, as you state, "engulfed by pilot flame, on the last 1/2" or so of thermocouple", the pilot burner and orifice are clean, cleaned them twice, along with the burners, days ago.
 
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Old 02-22-11, 11:13 AM
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Does the pilot burner flame burn like a small blow torch that is relatively resistant to being blown around, or with a soft flame similar to that of a candle flame?
 
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Old 02-22-11, 02:43 PM
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Good hard flame! Thanks for your time !
 
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Old 02-22-11, 05:57 PM
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But like I said, it went out once, after I replaced the thermocoupler. I'm afraid to leave for a day for fear of pipes freezing.
 
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Old 02-22-11, 06:23 PM
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When you push down on the gas valve to light the pilot, you are opening a gas valve which allows gas to flow to the pilot light. The gas valve is held open by an electromagnet energized by a voltage generated by the thermocouple when it's heated by the pilot flame.

If the pilot light goes out, it quits generating voltage, the magnet no longer holds the gas valve opens and the gas valve snaps closed, shutting off the gas.

From what you tell us, the pilot flame and thermocouple are good.

That leaves a bad magnet in the gas valve as the default problem.

Replacing the gas valve is not a DIY project in my view, and you should have a good repairman inspect the system to verify that the gas valve is the problem.
 
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Old 02-23-11, 05:03 AM
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Ok, cool, thanks SeattlePioneer !
 
 

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