Your heating system uses a number of safety devices and switches to ensure that the system is working properly and safely. In heaters using a standing pilot light (a pilot that is on continuously), one of these safety devices is a thermocouple. Malfunctioning safety devices can cause ignition and operational problems. Operating your heating system with a malfunctioning or failing safety device can be dangerous, so it’s best to call a technician for repair. The trained and certified technicians at Shaw’s Air Conditioning have the knowledge and expertise to handle every kind of heating repair, so if you are experiencing issues with your heating system, call us today.
Why a Thermocouple Is Important
A thermocouple is a device used to measure temperature. Thermocouples are composed of two metals that are soldered. When heat is applied at the point of contact, it creates a voltage; this is known as the Seebeck effect. As heat increases on the point of contact, the voltage becomes stronger. This is how the thermocouple measures temperature.
With a standing pilot light, a small stream of gas is always flowing in order to keep the pilot lit. It is necessary for your system to know that the pilot is lit so that your furnace can turn on and ignite when needed. The thermocouple is placed directly into the pilot flame and lets the system know that the pilot is lit and ready to work when needed. Should the pilot go out, the thermocouple will no longer have a voltage, and it will close the valve of the main gas line so that ignition can’t occur.
Common Problems with a Thermocouple
One of the most common problems with a thermocouple is that it gets dirty. A dirty thermocouple may not measure the heat accurately, which can cause the thermocouple to turn off the gas; in turn, the pilot light will go out. A second problem common to thermocouples is corrosion. The metal strips used in a thermocouple are quite thin, and with regular usage, they can corrode and breakdown. The average lifespan for a thermocouple is about 2 years, so if you experience issues with your pilot light, one of the first things your technician will inspect is the thermocouple.
Safety devices are installed on your heating system in Lemoore for a reason, so it’s important to keep them operating properly. If you experience problems with your standing pilot light, make a heating service appointment in Lemoore with your Shaw’s Air Conditioning technician today.