If you have any one of the older comfort accessories, you might have some experience with pilot lights.
If it weren’t for pilot lights, many comfort accessories wouldn't work properly. But besides allowing your water heater or furnace to work with natural gas or propane, here are some things you may not know about your pilot light.
A pilot light is a small flame that's always on. As long as the flame is present, the natural gas or propane that comes out will burn without incident. But if that flame goes out, the gas may continue to come out. Over time, this could fill your home or office with a dangerous amount of gas that could create an explosion risk. But luckily, there are safety devices in place to avoid this problem.
Because of the danger that could exist if a pilot light goes out, there are mechanisms in place to shut off the supply of gas if the flame goes out. One such mechanism is a thermocouple. A thermocouple is a device that generates a small amount of electricity when it gets very hot. A thermocouple, therefore, holds open the gas valve with the small amount of electricity that gets generated by the pilot light’s heat. If the flame goes out, heat is no longer produced, which means it doesn't create any further electricity. With no electricity, the valve keeping the gas valve open closes, shutting off the gas.
Pilot lights exist in accessories or appliances that often get used only part of the year. One example is the pilot light in a furnace. During the summer, the furnace gets zero use. And in the spring and fall, a furnace will only get a small amount of use. Therefore, for almost half the year, there is no need for the pilot light to be on because the furnace will not be necessary. To save a little bit of money, you can turn off the pilot light in an unused appliance. Just remember to turn the furnace’s pilot light back on when the weather gets cold.
To find out more about how to manage the pilot lights in your comfort accessories, consider calling or sending a message to our team of experts at Jerry’s Air Conditioning and Heating.