If your gas furnace is on its last legs, it might be time to consider having a new one installed. Most furnaces are designed to last about 18 years, on average. As your furnace reaches the limit on its life expectancy, you can expect start experiencing minor problems with it. Here are some simple instructions that will help you take care of a few basic problems that your furnace might be experiencing.
Relight the Pilot
With older furnaces, the pilot light is right up front, behind a small door. It's not uncommon for the pilot light to go out, especially if the area is drafty. If your pilot light has gone out, you'll need to relight it before you can use the system again.
- Turn the manual gas valve and pilot gas valve to the "off" position.
- Allow the furnace to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the pilot gas valve to the "on" position.
- Locate the red button on the switch and press it.
- While pressing the red button, use a match or lighter to light the pilot.
Clean the Pilot Orifice
If the pilot light will not ignite, you might have a dirty, or clogged, pilot orifice. To clean the orifice, turn off the main shutoff valve and electrical power switch to the furnace. Remove the access panel, located on the front of the furnace. Using a toothpick or thin pipe cleaner to remove the debris from inside the orifice. Use a cotton swab to clean the area around the outside of the pilot orifice. Repeat the process several times until the debris is completely removed.
Replace the Thermocouple
If your pilot light continually goes out, and there is not draft in the area, your thermocouple may have malfunctioned. The thermocouple is responsible for igniting the furnace each time it cycles on. If the thermocouple is malfunctioning, the pilot light will go out. To replace the thermocouple, follow the instructions provided below.
- Turn the gas valve and the pilot valve to the "off" position.
- Turn off the power to the furnace.
- Allow the area to air out for about 5 minutes.
- Unscrew the lead wire from the combination control valve.
- Unscrew the small nut holding the thermocouple in place.
- Pull the thermocouple away from the bracket.
- Place new thermocouple in the bracket and install the nuts.
- Replace the lead wire to the combination control valve.
- Relight the pilot light and turn the power back on to the furnace.
If your furnace is getting up there in years, it might be time to talk to a furnace contractor about a replacement. In the meantime, the instructions provided here will help you take care of the minor problems you might be facing with your furnace.