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Question DetailsAsked on 2/15/2017

Old York gas heater, elec. igniter. Pilot lights for 1-2 then goes out n repeats. burners to not fire up

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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


If an electronic furnace, look for LED lights - either in a flashing pattern or maybe a pattern of different ones being one or off - owner's manual should have code list of what they re indicating.

Could be the therocouple (or more likely thermopile in this case) has worn out - commonly last 5-10 years, typically around $10-25 for thermocouple or $25-80 for thermopile (which you might have if electronic ignition). Or could be a gas supply problem - gas supply to the appliance, or something going on in the gas control valve.

About all you can try is check any connections you had apart - especially that the thermocouple/thermopile is fully up into its recess in the gas control valve before the seating nut is snugged down around it. And try turning to OFF, then go through the startup procedure again.

One thing on that - you are doing the right thing to give the thermocouple/thermopile time to heat up, right ? Usually holding down the gas control knob at the PILOT position, or holding down a START or LIGHT button for a certain period of time (typically 20-30 seconds) till the thermocouple/thermopile tip gets hot enough in the flame to generate the electricity needed to keep the gas control valve open. If you do not give the tip time to heat up in the start procedure before you release the button or knob, it does not generate enough juice so the gas flow is cut right off because the system thinks the pilot went out. Read start procedure on label on side of unit, or in owner's manual - usually you can find that at manufacturer website.

LOTS more previous questions with answers about pilot light/burner issues can be found in the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects, at lower left - some with a lot more detail on troubleshooting, but your furnace startup procedure in the manual or stick-on instructions on its side or inside the front cover are your best bet.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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