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  #1  
Old 06-27-2007, 03:59 PM
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How much gas does a furnace pilot light burn?

I was down in the basement throwing some stuff out and it dawned on me that, duh, the pilot light on the furnace was on (obviously since I never shut the gas off in the 10 years we've been here). The furnace hasn't gone on in a month and probably won't for another three months.

Does it use an appreciable amount of gas? Is it worthwhile to shut the gas off to the furnace for the warm months? I never thought about it before.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:03 PM
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Most if not all of the newer gas furnaces and water heaters have electronic ignition, I believe. Mine do, just like the stove. Thus there is no pilot light.
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2007, 04:07 PM
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Define "new"...

...our units were "new" in '97. Ours have pilot lights and are always on.

We also have one gas fireplace, and the pilot light is always on there too.

I should shut them off for a month to see what it does to our gas bill...
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2007, 05:03 PM
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We had electronic ignition. When it failed, the plumber replaced it with one with a continuous pilot light. In his opinion, the continuous pilot was more reliable.

I think the amount of gas consumed must be negligable, or else Al Gore would have insisted that they all get changed.

On the other hand, I'm sure pilot lights are a major contributor to global warming, which I think we should discuss again.
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2007, 06:22 PM
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It must be a fair amount given my experience lighting farts. I don't think one fart would keep a pilot operating for more than a second or two.
I know a landlady who doesn't like pilots on her gas stoves because they heat the kitchen up too much. If she can tell the difference, I guess it must be significant.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2007, 06:44 PM
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Older gas furnaces have pilot lights that use 400 to 1,200 cubic feet of natural gas per month. That's between $5 and nearly $16 per month at my gas companies current rate.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubyagee View Post
Older gas furnaces have pilot lights that use 400 to 1,200 cubic feet of natural gas per month. That's between $5 and nearly $16 per month at my gas companies current rate.
Dang, double that for my propane. Pilots are now OFF!.

Also its not a bad idea to tun them off in the event they are not ignited and cause a gas hazard.
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  #8  
Old 06-27-2007, 07:56 PM
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Do you have floor drains with your propane?
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kerry edwards View Post
Do you have floor drains with your propane?
Huh?
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:47 PM
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Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air and will collect at the floor level and not dissipate. Some municipalities require floor drains (I think) which drain the propane out of the building if a leak develops.
I remember watching a sailor use a bail bucket to dump something over the side of his boat. Upon closer inspection, I could see no liquid pouring out. Turns out he was bailing the propane which had collected in his bilges as a result of a leak. This feature of propane can be quite dangerous.
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2007, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry edwards View Post
Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air and will collect at the floor level and not dissipate. Some municipalities require floor drains (I think) which drain the propane out of the building if a leak develops.
I remember watching a sailor use a bail bucket to dump something over the side of his boat. Upon closer inspection, I could see no liquid pouring out. Turns out he was bailing the propane which had collected in his bilges as a result of a leak. This feature of propane can be quite dangerous.
I learned something today, I knew it was heavier than air but never thought it would collect in a drain.

It makes sense though. What was coming out of the bucket?
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2007, 09:14 PM
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The other factor though is that if you shut it off, you may not be able to light it again without replacing the thermocouple.
I have renovated a few rentals and I shut off the gas for a few months and I never could get them to relight without replacing them.
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  #13  
Old 06-27-2007, 09:15 PM
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Kerry,
I had never thought about propane being heavier than air, while natural gas is lighter before about 2 weeks ago. I have been training with Baltimore Gas electric ( BGE) company to be permitted to do some work for them. My supervisor made exactly the same point.
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2007, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howitzer View Post
I learned something today, I knew it was heavier than air but never thought it would collect in a drain.

It makes sense though. What was coming out of the bucket?
It was propane. He was collecting it and pouring it over the side. I don't know how he was figuring out how deep it was in his bilge and when he had bailed the last bit out. Perhaps he was sticking his nose down in it and smelling.
This makes me wonder if it is possible to siphon propane. Anyone know?
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2007, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Wodnek View Post
The other factor though is that if you shut it off, you may not be able to light it again without replacing the thermocouple.
I have renovated a few rentals and I shut off the gas for a few months and I never could get them to relight without replacing them.
I've run into the same thing and it's why I decided to keep my pilots on.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:41 PM
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