Safety Devices That Shut off the Gas if the Pilot Light Goes out

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Safety devices are designed to regulate gas supplied to pilot lights. These devices monitor appliances fueled by gas and ensure they are working properly to prevent gas from flowing freely into the air and posing a health hazard when the pilot light extinguishes. While there are several safety devices that serve this purpose, a different name is used for each one.

Thermocouple

  • The thermocouple is a safety device that shuts off gas when the pilot light goes out. It’s generally part of the electrical field that generates an electric current by producing heat. Thermocouples are predominantly made of two U-shaped conductors of similar metals which create a circuit to control valves and relays. In most devices, such as water heaters, furnaces and gas fireplaces, thermocouples are located near the pilot light. The thermocouple controls the main gas valve that permits gas to flow to the pilot light. Once the pilot light extinguishes, the safety device shuts off gas flow. The thermocouple does not open the gas valve unless the pilot light is lit to prevent gas from needlessly flowing to the device and haphazardly escaping into the air.

Safety Valve Sensor

  • Most gas stoves are equipped with safety valve sensors. They control the release of gas to the pilot light. If the pilot light blows out or fails to ignite from a lack of gas pressure, a sensor emits a signal to the valve instructing it to automatically restrict gas flow to the pilot. According to Appliance 411, the main burner should ignite in less than 1 1/2 minutes once the pilot flame is large enough to encase the safety valve.

Flame Sensor

  • A flame sensor is usually found on a gas fireplace. The flame sensor activates when it fails to detect a flame from the pilot light. The safety device immediately works to cut off the gas supply to the fireplace in the event that the pilot light goes out or refuses to light. Ensure that the flame sensor is properly adjusted to detect a flame, states Toolbelt. If the flame is too low, the device can trigger turning off the gas even when a flame exists.

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