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The Pilot Light Isn’t Burning Blue: What Does That Mean?

As the cooler weather starts, you’re going to fire up your home’s heater for the season. If you use a gas furnace with a pilot light (either standing or intermittent), one of the first things you should check after you’ve turned it on for the first time is the color of the pilot light. If it’s any other hue aside from a steady blue, something’s wrong. Turn off the furnace and call professionals to inspect the furnace for repair needs.

What the Color of the Pilot Light Means

Natural gas consists primarily of the chemical compound methane. When methane is burnt, it gives off a strong blue color. You might notice hints of red or yellow at the tip of the flame, which is normal. If you have a blue-burning pilot light, it means it is receiving a steady supply of natural gas.

But if the flame starts to glow a different color (red, yellow, or green), there’s an issue. This change in color means that something other than methane is burning along with the natural gas. Other condensates have gotten into the gas flow. It could be oil, tar, rust flakes, or dust. Any of these condensates can create harmful chemicals when burnt, and they could also endanger the flow of gas.

This is one of the reasons that it’s important to always arrange for professional fall maintenance for your furnace. Technicians will perform combustion tests that will detect problems with the pilot light, giving them plenty of time to repair it. You should make your own pilot light checks through the winter: once a month take a look at the pilot light flame to see that it’s still burning blue—and call for repairs if it isn’t.

Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration offers quality gas furnace repair in Shreveport, LA and the surrounding areas. We also have 24-hour emergency service.

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