Turn off pilot light in summer

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A pilot light is a small, flame that serves as an ignition source for a more powerful burner, such as for water heaters, stoves, dryers, refrigerators, fireplaces, and heaters/boilers. Even when not in use for months, a pilot light traditionally has been kept permanently alight, but, frankly, this is wasteful. In domestic heating systems with pilot lights, it has been estimated that sometimes close to half of the total energy usage is actually from the pilot light.

Pilot lights also create a small amount of heat as a byproduct. While this is not so bad in the winter when you need heat, it will contribute heat to your house in hotter months. Pilot lights also put out a small amount of fumes that usually do not get drawn up into a venting system. A double-whammy.

You can lower your yearly usage of energy on these types of appliances by shutting off the pilot light during the times of the year that you do not use them. Starting them back up again in winter can be as easy as lighting a match.


• Luckily, it is now becoming more common to light a burner electrically on stoves and some other appliances, but pilot lights are still used when a high-energy ignition source is necessary, usually on fireplaces and furnaces.

• Check out your user manual to see if they use a pilot light. Having trouble finding your manual? Search online with the model number. Most devices have a simple valve to shut off the pilot light.

• Mark your calendar for the end of the heating season. It is easy to remember to turn it on but you might forget to turn it off each year.

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