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The Home Depot

What Causes a Pilot Light Outage?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > What Causes a Pilot Light Outage?
What Causes a Pilot Light Outage?

Some household appliances receive power from natural gas. These gas-burning appliances have pilot lights that must stay lit constantly in order for the appliance to operate. If an appliance pilot light goes out, it’s important to determine what is causing the outage.


Because a gas-powered appliance can be dangerous if you don’t understand how to use it, visit the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to learn important information about pilot lights in general and about pilot light problems specifically.


Once you understand the causes of a pilot light outage, you’ll have the background necessary to maintain and troubleshoot your equipment.

  1. If something blocks the fresh air delivery to the pilot light, you will need to remove the obstruction or the pilot light will extinguish.

    1.Safety First

    Most appliances have a safety feature that automatically shuts the appliance off when the pilot light experiences problems. When you notice a pilot light outage on an appliance or piece of equipment, don’t do anything unless you know with certainty that your actions are safe. Consult your owner’s manual to read the safety documentation and instructions for resolving pilot light outages.


    Proceed to troubleshoot or remedy a distinguished pilot light by only following instructions in the owner’s manual. If you have any uncertainties or questions about actions you should take, stop and call a licensed and experienced professional to service your equipment.

  2. 2.Condensation

    If excessive condensation forms around a pilot light, the moisture may cause the pilot to extinguish. Sometimes moisture can be so excessive that it drips freely onto the main burner, which quickly puts out the pilot light.

  3. 3.Air Supply

    If an appliance does not have proper venting, the pilot light will extinguish. In addition, other drafts that exist around the unit could also blow out the pilot light. A pilot light requires fresh air to remain lit. If something blocks the fresh air delivery to the pilot light, you will need to remove the obstruction or the pilot light will extinguish. A fresh air source near the appliance could interfere with the pilot light, as could excessive temperatures.

  5. 4.Faulty Gas Pressure

    A faulty gas pressure – either too low or too high – could keep a pilot light from staying lit. In this case, notify your utility company of the issue.

  6. 5.Faulty Equipment

    If you can’t attribute a pilot light outage to condensation, air supply or gas pressure, the problem may lie with the appliance itself. Call a professional to examine the pilot light tube, the gas valve, the thermocouple connection or the thermostat. In addition, if air stays in the gas line, it could keep the pilot light from lighting. A professional service person can purge air from the gas line to repair your appliance.


    The pilot light of your appliance must always be lit with a strong, blue flame. A large and high flame indicates high gas pressure and a small, weak flame indicates low gas pressure. The best rule of thumb when troubleshooting a pilot light is to err on the side of caution and always hire a professional to examine and analyze your equipment.

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