How to Clean a Pilot Light Orifice

Written by meredith jameson
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How to Clean a Pilot Light Orifice
(Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Pilot lights are used to heat gas-powered appliances, such as hot water heaters, furnaces or steam heaters. The pilot light is fuelled by the gas valve, which sends gas into tubes that mix with air, and then the mixture is lit by the pilot. This light generally stays lit without interference, but problems may occasionally cause the flame to go out. One of these issues is a dirty pilot light orifice, as dirt or debris can cause a yellow, noisy or intermittent flame. Cleaning the pilot light orifice can help prevent this problem.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Gas supply
  • Wrench
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Stiff brush
  • Clean cloth

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  1. 1

    Turn off the gas valve, which will be at a right angle to the pipe, and disconnect the thermocouple tube. The thermocouple tube is the smallest of the three lines exiting the control box.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the pilot gas line from the automatic gas valve using an automatic wrench. Unscrew the metal bracket that surrounds the pilot light.

  3. 3

    Gently scrub the pilot light orifice with a stiff-bristled brush to remove dirt and debris, using caution not to chip the orifice. Wipe away the extra dirt with a clean cloth.

  4. 4

    Screw the bracket back into place and reconnect the pilot gas line and thermocouple line.

  5. 5

    Turn the gas valve back on prior to lighting the pilot light.

Tips and warnings

  • Stop and smell carefully for gas. If gas fumes are detected, stop immediately, turn off the furnace and leave the house. Contact your local gas company or fire station.

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