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Question DetailsAsked on 2/26/2015

flame on pilot light does not hit thermocouple

The pilot flame turns upward before getting to the thermocouple. Can the pilot gas pressure be adjusted?

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2 Answers


Adjusting the gas pressure is probably not the correct solution. In most cases a good service of the unit will solve the problem, especially if it is a vent-free type. Find a company with technicians certified by NFI at In any event they will be able to diagnose and correct the problem.

Answered 5 years ago by Jim Brewer


Sounds like either the thermocouple is seated too low in the holder - some have a twist-nut to tighten it, some it just slips up and down in spring metal fingers. Or the entire pilot/thermocouple housing has come loose so it rotated, causing the flame to miss the thermocouple. The cupped curved finger draft shield behind the flame should be upright - if not, then probably the mounting bolt came loose (or rusted off) or the entire burner tube it is mounted on is off its pins and twisted a bit - burner holes/slots should be dead centered on top, at least on all I have seen - centered around the tube if holes in both sides like some have.

Because you say the pilot flame "turns upward" sounds like the entire pilot/thermocouple assembly is rotated, because the flame should rise vertically from the gas jet till it hits the draft shield (the cupped finger) when it may veer away from the top of that.

Pilot gas pressure should only be adjusted if the flame is very short so it cannot envelop the thermocouple - very rarely needs adjusting. Too tall a flame promotes flickering or "walking" or the flame and intermittently the thermocouple going out because of that.

If you change thermocouples yourself you know how it inserts into the fitting and how to take the burner tube out (if attached to a burner tube). If not, Plumber (Gas Fitter in the few states requiring gas workk be done by them) should be able to fix this in just a few minutes, so probably minimum service charge of $75-150 except in a few very high-cost urban areas,plus maybe some minor parts. If your furnace or hot water heater has not been cleaned and checked this year you might ask how much more to do that - might be very little incremental cost since you are paying for 1/2 hour or an hour of labor anyway.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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