In the flame of the pilot light, there is a junction of a thermocouple. The electricity holds open a small valve, but if the pilot light goes out, then the thermocouple cools down. There is no more electricity, and the valve closes.
A pilot light is a great way to save time and can be very handy in a power outage as it does not go out when the power goes out. Instead, it can continue to run as it requires no external electricity.
This means that, unlike more modern appliances, you can still keep nice and warm by the fire even during a power cut. To find out more about pilot lights, gas appliances, and what to do in a power cut, keep reading.
How a Pilot Light Works
The pilot light is a very important part of your gas furnace. It is a small light that is constantly kept light. This means that when you turn your fireplace on, this releases the gas into the appliance and is ignited by the pilot light.
So, the pilot light’s function is to light the gas, powering the ignition, and filling the appliance with the fire it needs to run. The idea of the pilot light is that it can remain lit at all times, reducing the hassle of turning your gas fireplace on and off.
This is particularly handy if you live in a colder part of the world where you require to put the heating on regularly. The pilot light means that you can reduce the need to manually ignite the gas every time you want to light the fire. Instead, you can turn it on with the push of a button or turn of a valve.
Pilot lights are not only for gas fireplaces but can also be used with other gas-powered appliances such as boilers, furnaces, stoves, and clothes dryers.
Is it Dangerous if the Pilot Light goes Out?
One of the main reasons a pilot light is important is that it will ignite any gas that escapes out of the pipe. This allows the gas to burn within the confined area (for example, behind the glass in a gas fireplace). However, if your pilot light goes out (meaning that you did not manually turn it off yourself), this can cause problems.
The risk is that gas is still being pumped out of the pipe but is not being ignited. You would not be able to see the gas, but you may be able to smell it. If this is the case, or you are concerned, you should call an electrician immediately.
You should open all of the windows and doors to ventilate the room and leave the house along with your family, friends, or anyone else in the building. The reason for these safety precautions is that not only is breathing in the gas bad for you, but it can also cause serious damage.
If the gas can leak out of your fireplace, then it could be ignited in the air in the room. So, if your pilot light goes out, and there is the possibility that there is gas escaping out into the room, do not, under any circumstances, light a flame. This could have serious consequences.
Do I need to Turn Off the Gas when the Power goes Out?
If you have a power cut, you luckily do not need to worry about turning off your gas. Natural gas is a convenient fuel to have access to during a power cut as it means that you will still be able to use some of your appliances.
Keeping the gas on is perfectly safe, and you can still use the appliances by lighting them manually, as long as you determine it safe to do so, e.g., meaning that there are no leaks.
For example, you can light a gas-powered stove by lighting it manually rather than by a clicker. However, nowadays, several gas-powered appliances also rely on electricity. For example, many modern gas fireplaces also use electricity for remote controls. You will need to ignite everything manually.
If the Pilot Light goes Out does Gas Still Flow?
If your pilot light goes out because you have manually turned off your furnace, this will also include the gas, and there will not be any gas flowing out of the pipe. However, it is a different story if the pilot light goes out by itself.
If the pilot light goes out by itself, you will need to consider the age of your appliance and its working condition. For example, if you have a modern gas fireplace, then the chances are that it has been fitted with a failsafe. This means that if the pilot light goes out, the gas supply will be cut off thanks to a thermocouple.
However, if your appliance is damaged or does not have this failsafe device installed, the odds are that there is still gas pumped into your room. This can be very dangerous as it can quickly and easily ignite. So, to be safe rather than sorry, follow the steps we have detailed above.
Will a Gas Furnace Work without electricity?
The simple answer is that no, a gas furnace will not work without electricity. There are many electrical components to a gas furnace, and so it will not work like other gas-powered appliances. It will still require electricity.
So, if you have a gas furnace, then one of the best things you can do is get a backup generator. This will allow you to carry on running your gas furnace even in the event of a power cut. However, these can be very pricey to run and so you should only do this when necessary.
Once you get your gas furnace hooked up to the backup generator, you will be good to go as the electronic components will work again.
How to Light a Gas Fireplace Without Electricity
Luckily, it is still perfectly possible to light a gas fireplace without electricity. This is especially handy during a power cut. Here we will list the steps for you to go through if your gas fireplace requires electricity:
- Open up access to the components by removing the front panel.
- Locate the battery tray underneath the fireplace.
- Insert the correct batteries into the battery tray.
- Replace the battery tray.
However, if your gas fireplace does not require any electricity and has a standing pilot light, then you can turn on the gas as usual to ignite it. However, note that if you have to turn the valve on manually, any remotes will require electricity.
What Happens to a Gas Furnace when the Power goes Out?
Some homeowners, they may find that during a power outage, their gas furnace does not work. This is because there is a safety mechanism that is instructed to stop the gas furnace from running in a power cut.
Not only this, but if you are using gas for a furnace to heat your home, then several electronic components will not work without electricity. These include the circuit boards (telling your thermostat what the temperature is and connecting to the gas furnace to control it), relays (system switches), and blowers (fans to move around the heated air).
To Sum Up
A pilot light is a very clever and handy little tool to have. It can save you a great deal of time when turning the fireplace on and off, especially if you live in a cold country. However, it can be expensive to keep on and so you should consider turning it off in the summer months when you are less likely to use the fireplace.
However, if you have a power cut, then a pilot light means that you can still ignite your fire. There are no electronic components at play, and so it will not be affected. However, other gas appliances may be. For example, gas furnaces require several electronic parts and need a backup generator to get running during a power outage.