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Guide To Troubleshooting Problems With Keeping Your Gas Boiler's Pilot Lit

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When your gas boiler heater has stopped working properly, you may have determined there may be a problem with keeping the fire lit after checking and relighting the pilot. If so, Use the following three-step guide to troubleshooting the problem to see if there is a simple solution.

Step 1: Check The Gas Lines And Valves

The first thing you should do is check the gas lines and valves that feed your boiler. It is possible that one of the lines have become clogged or a valve is not opened all of the way.

With the pilot light out, fully open the valve and listen for the sound of gas. You should also smell a hint of gas.

If you do not hear or smell its presence, you may have a clogged gas line and should call a professional repair service from a site like to look at your lines and unclog them.

If you are certain there is sufficient gas is running through the lines and feeding the pilot, try lighting the pilot. If you are able to keep it lit, check to see if the flame is burning steadily with a bright blue tint. 

If the pilot light will not stay lit, is burning too low, or has a reddish or yellowish hue, turn off the gas valve and go on to the next step.

Step 2: Check The Pilot For Rust Or Corrosion

When your pilot is not burning properly, the outlet could be rusted or corroded. This can block the amount of gas allowed to pass through, thus affecting the pilot's ability to stay lit or burn hot enough to light the main burner.

After making sure the gas is off to avoid inhaling it, visually inspect the pilot. Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to enable you to see it clearly. If you do not see any signs of corrosion, go on to the third step.

However, if there are obvious signs of blockage, you will need to clean the pilot. For this step, you will need a small piece of 1000 grit sandpaper, a one-inch paintbrush, and a firm bristled toothbrush.

Carefully sand the end of the pilot outlet with the sandpaper using small, circular motions. Use a soft, gentle touch so as not to damage it.

After making a few circles, use the paintbrush to brush away any dust. If you still see rust or corrosion, continue with another pass with the sandpaper. Continue doing this until you see shiny metal.

Once you have finished sanding, use the toothbrush to clean the inside of the pilot outlet. This will remove any rust or dust that may have fallen inside while you were sanding.

Try to relight the pilot. If the pilot still does not burn correctly, go on to the next step.

Step 3: Inspect The Flue For Any Blockage

If your pilot still refuses to light or burn brightly, it may not be getting enough air to keep feed it. There could be a blockage in the flue, such as leaves or excess soot. If so, you can clean this using a large baby bottle brush and broomstick.

Use a screwdriver to carefully remove the flue by unscrewing it from the top of the boiler and the chimney access. Turn it sideways and take it to where you will be cleaning it, making sure to put down newspaper or a drop cloth to catch any debris.

Turn it right side up and shake it slightly to see if anything comes out on its own. Then, feed the broomstick into the flue to knock loose any large blockages.

Follow this with the large baby brush to clean the soot from the sides. Do not wet the brush, as this could make the soot stick to the sides.

Turn on the gas and relight the pilot. If it still does not burn right, you may need to have a boiler repair service look at it. 

If you still cannot find the problem or you do not feel comfortable making the repairs, you may want to call a professional service that specializes in gas boiler repair. They can inspect your system and recommend the next course of action.