With any fuel-burning furnace, there's always a risk of issues with the pilot light and the system's ability to maintain a flame. Unfortunately, many homeowners don't understand the signs of trouble or the many things that can cause it. Before the weather turns cold and you need your furnace, here's a look at some of the things you should know about pilot light and burner issues with your furnace.
Fuel Supply Problems
One of the most common reasons for issues with your furnace's pilot light and burner is an issue with the fuel supply. Fuel supply issues can originate in a couple of different areas. The first thing you should check is the fuel oil in your tank. Make sure that you have sufficient fuel in the tank. Keep in mind that the fuel oil must be deep enough to reach the fuel pickup, so if the tank is down to an inch or two of fuel oil, your intermittent pilot light may be due to low fuel.
Another common reason for fuel supply issues is a malfunctioning fuel pump. When the fuel pump can't draw fuel the way that it's supposed to, you'll have disruptions in the pilot light and the burner. You may need to have a heating repair technician inspect the fuel pump and replace it if needed.
Finally, your fuel delivery nozzle may be clogged with particles, either from debris in the heating oil or from corrosion in the tubes. A heating repair professional can either replace the tubing or fuel filter if needed or they can clean out the lines and restore your heating system's performance.
Your furnace burner is designed with sensors that ensure adequate airflow through the burner. When it senses insufficient air in the system, it will shut the pilot light off to protect the furnace. If the furnace ventilation is blocked or the fans aren't working properly to draw air into the unit, you'll need a repair technician to identify the source of the issue and repair it.
Flame Sensor Issues
Every fuel-burning furnace has a flame sensor on the pilot light. When there's no active flame on the pilot light, the sensor trips the system to stop the fuel delivery. This is designed to protect your home from an overrun of heating fuel if the flame doesn't ignite as it should. If the flame sensor isn't functioning properly, it can shut down the pilot light at random. You'll need to have the sensor replaced to stop this problem.
For more insight, contact heating repair services.