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Gas Pilot Lights vs. Electronic Ignition

Cade Clark

Administrative Service Manager Cade Clark discusses modern gas appliances.

If you have older propane gas appliances — furnace, stove, water heater, gas log set, etc. — it most likely has a pilot light. Unfortunately, pilot lights can be extinguished at times, and your appliance won’t deliver gas until you get the pilot light working again.

Since the pilot light needs to remain active, your gas appliances are always consuming some gas. It’s not a lot, but it obviously adds up over time. Pilot lights can also develop problems that cause them to burn inefficiently. When this happens, a small amount of carbon monoxide can be released into your home.

Most gas appliances today rely on electronic ignition instead of inefficient pilot lights. Electronic ignitions use an electric current to quickly generate enough heat to light your burners, and then shut off. A variation of this is an intermittent pilot light, which only stays lit as long as you are using the appliance. When you’re done, the pilot light goes off, saving you money on gas.