These days, lots of gas stoves or fireplaces come with pilot lights. Now, if you look at it, that gas stove pilot light always on might make you wonder why it never goes off. If you have never bothered to learn about such things, it may look like a malfunction. So, what does it actually do, and what is its role? Should you turn it off at times? If yes, how? Furthermore, some people also consider the potential expenses. How much would it cost to leave it running year-round?
You may consider turning it off, but how difficult is it to turn it back on? All in all, this guide will give you all the information you need.
Gas Stove Pilot Light Always On – Considering The Ignition System
When it comes to the burner, it usually consists of ceramic. Many burners on gas fireplaces come with ceramic because it is more durable than other materials. However, it is not unusual to find a tube-style burner either. The burner consists of more parts. First, you have the valve, which is the main part. Then, there are a bunch of different fittings. A control module is also included.
Whether you use remote control, a wall switch, or the thermostat simply asks for some heat, gas will be allowed to the burner because the valve opens up. The operating system is fairly simple to understand, and it is pretty much the same for most burners. The pilot light is just before the burner – this is why the pilot light out on the stove smells like gas sometimes.
Many units come with a steady pilot light, which is always on. Some others come with an intermittent one. You can also have an electronic system for the ignition. The electronic type turns the light on only if the valve is open – generally when the fireplace or stove is actually in use. The pilot light is used by a millivolt valve, so it stays on all the time. The intermittent option can be set for continuous running, but most appliances will shut off automatically for energy efficiency.
Pilot Light Out On Stove Smells Like Gas – What Is Its Role?
If you have an older model stove, water heater, or furnace relying on natural gas, you are probably familiar with the pilot light already. It is a blue flame that runs all the time. Its primary role is fairly simple to understand. It provides the flame required to run the burner. It basically turns it on. The valve will release some gas into it, and this light ignites it.
According to How Stuff Works, the pilot light is very simple to understand. A bit of gas runs continuously through a tiny tube. The light keeps burning because the gas is continuous. Some may say that the gas stove pilot light always on could be a safety-related issue. If this flame ever blows out, the gas would keep coming. Imagine filling the whole house with gas and the risk of an explosion. This is when the valve kicks in – if the light goes off, the gas is cut off too.
Furthermore, apart from igniting the gas, the valve will also generate millivolts – electricity. After all, how would this valve run for years without an active source of electricity? Simply put, the valve has two purposes, and they work along in a tight collaboration.
How Much Gas Does A Pilot Light Use?
Most people will also consider their expenses with a gas stove pilot light always on. After all, it can run continuously for months or years. At this point, you may ask yourself – what are your expenses over a month? How about a year? How about a decade? Indeed, the pilot light is not the most gas-efficient thing in your kitchen, but its role is quite clear, and it will not skyrocket your bills either.
Then, there is another concern – should you turn it off during the summertime? Plus, how much gas does it actually require?
For most appliances, pilot lights will require not more than 600BTU of gas per hour. Obviously, newer appliances are more cost-efficient, so they will require even less than that. There are 24 hours a day, meaning at this rate, you will waste just over 14,000BTU per day. During a month, you will lose 420,000BTU. Now, natural gas is generally measured in terms, and this is what you pay for. A therm is 100,000BTU. Check the therm prices in your area, and you will know exactly how much you are spending month by month.
In most western countries, having the gas stove pilot light always on will cost you less than a takeaway burger per month. These expenses you can easily overlook over a year. Sure, if you do the math, you will waste a bit of money over a few decades, but such calculations become irrelevant. By the time a few decades pass, you will most likely have a different stove.
It makes no difference where the pilot light is – a fireplace or a stove, perhaps an insert. There are a few benefits to having the light always on. As it runs continuously, it creates a bit of heat. The inside of the unit will always be dry, which is great. This is recommendation if you live in a humid climate. If there is plenty of rain or damp around, having the light on is the way to go forward. Do not be bothered if the pilot light out on the stove smells like gas – it is perfectly normal.
There are more benefits, though. Turning the pilot light off for a month or two, and chances are insects will get in there. Spiders will get in, and spiderwebs will be everywhere, blocking little holes and orifices. While you can clean some of them yourself, some others will be more challenging. You might need to seek help from a cleaning service to correct everything. This operation will not necessarily be cheap.
Another benefit of leaving the light on is the fact that you will no longer need to turn it back on later on. Turn it off, and you will struggle to turn it on. Sure, you can find all these details in the manual of instructions – if you still have it, of course. With all these, even with the instructions nearby, you will still find it pretty challenging.
Disadvantages Of Having The Gas Stove Pilot Light Always On
The main reason wherefore most people are worried about the gas stove pilot light always on is the actual expense. You run gas year-round. Gas keeps flowing to get burned. You do not use it to cook. In fact, you may not even run the stove for days – imagine being on holiday for a while. When used for fireplaces, the necessity to turn it off is even more obvious.
Now, think about the money you could save for a bit. No matter how rarely you need the stove, turning the pilot light off will not save you too much. What do you pay for a full tank of gas in your car? This is pretty much what you might be able to save in a year. In other words, the saving is not that impressive. It is still a saving though, but most people never consider the cleaning costs later on. Turn the light off for too long, and you may need a professional service to clean the insects inside it or the spiderwebs. Such a service will cost you more than the actual amount you will save, so your saving becomes an actual disadvantage.
At this point, it also depends on what kind of system you have. Most technicians will love millivolt systems because they are classic. They have been around for decades, and the technology is straightforward. They are very simple to troubleshoot, but also inexpensive. If you have an intermittent system, you will spend even more money.
Pilot Light Out On Stove Smells Like Gas – Is It Dangerous?
As you come closer to this pilot light, you will inevitably sense a smell of gas. It is normal though, as the valve sends gas through to keep the light going on. If you can smell gas as you enter the kitchen or the house, make sure you open all the windows before turning anything on. However, the smell should not go so far – if it does, you have a problem. Normally, you should sense this smell around the pilot light only.
As a short final conclusion, the gas stove pilot light always on may seem a bit sketchy at first. After all, it looks like you are wasting gas and money – in fact, you are not. It is not a health and safety issue either, as these units come with automatic shutoff features that will prevent gas leaks. In other words, it is more convenient and potentially cheaper to simply leave it running.
If you enjoy reading this article, be sure to check out what happens if you use propane on a natural gas stove.