Do you have a furnace? These units continue to be among the most popular heating systems on the market, and are used by many homeowners in Florida and across the country. Even though this state is not known for cold weather, winter is the time of year to make sure your furnace is in tip-top condition and ensure you remain comfortable on chilly winter nights. However, if your furnace was installed within the past 10 years, you may be having a common problem with it: you do not see a pilot light.
What to Know About Pilot Lights in Modern Furnaces
Rather than a pilot light that burns continuously, modern gas furnaces tend to have electronic ignition systems that only come on when the unit is in use. Older furnaces have what is called a standing pilot light, which is a flame that does not go out. If your furnace is a traditional model, and you find that the pilot light has become extinguished, you will want to call an experienced HVAC technician right away.
However, not being able to find the pilot light on a modern furnace is actually not a major cause for concern. Modern furnaces are built to be more energy-efficient, and use less gas, so if your furnace is fairly new, it’s a good thing that your pilot light is not on all the time. To double-check what kind of furnace you have, and whether your pilot light should be continuously burning or not, consult your owner’s manual. If your system is electric, it will have an ignition rest switch, which you will not be able to find on models with standing pilot lights.
What type of pilot light does my system have?
- Intermittent Pilots: Most electronic-based furnaces use what is called an intermittent pilot light. Again, it is important to remember that this type of pilot light only comes on when the furnace’s burner needs to be ignited, which will happen when the system’s thermometer lowers, indicating heat is needed. The pilot is then shut off again when the heating cycle is complete, burning less fuel and wasting less energy.
- Hot Surface Pilots: If you have a modern furnace that doesn’t rely on an intermittent pilot, chances are it’s using a hot surface ignitor. This type of pilot does not even have a light. Hot surface pilots are made from silicon carbide and silicon nitride, and send an electric current to the furnace’s igniter when the thermostat drops. Once the heat has built up, the system’s gas valve will open, sending gas to the burner where it is activated by the igniter.
Get Your Furnace Serviced Soon
Even industry-leading electronic pilot light furnaces need to be serviced occasionally, so it’s a good idea to call for annual system maintenance during the winter season. And remember, if you use a gas furnace or any other sophisticated piece of heating equipment, trying to make adjustments on your own can be very dangerous, so you should hire a technician if you are ever unsure of what’s going on with your system. Fortunately, our Sarasota HVAC pros at Airrific Air Conditioning and Heating offer a range of heater repair and installation options to suit all your family’s needs. Call now to schedule an appointment, and click here to take advantage of special coupons and discounts.