How Looking After Your Pilot Orifices Saves You Money
By Todd Luedtke – Master Certified Technician
Sometimes the smallest of things can have big ramifications, this is certainly true of a Pilot Orifice on any commercial gas oven or range. Read this blog to learn how a simple cleaning can save your kitchen money and cut out future emergency service calls.
What is a Pilot Orifice?
Most people know what a pilot light is, but the pilot orifice and its importance often get overlooked. The orifice is a small cap with a tiny pinhole in it, it is a key component of your commercial oven’s ignition system. The hole size in the orifice is vital. The orifice allows the right amount of gas to flow into the pilot to properly maintain the pilot flame. The pilot flame then works with your Pilot Safety Valve, this valve contains a thermopile (or thermocouple) which when heated by the pilot holds the gas valve open. If too little gas is flowing through the pilot orifice, then your oven will either not light or not stay lit.
How do you know when it’s a problem?
As mentioned above your oven may not light at all or it may drop out once lit. You may hear a clicking sound once the oven has gone out, this is the ignitor trying to refire the oven.
Why has this happened?
Over time there can be a buildup of what looks like ash, this is a natural byproduct of burning gas.
Is it dangerous?
No, your Pilot Safety Valve is doing what it is designed to do. It has detected that it cannot operate with the amount of gas being supplied so it is shutting down until the issue can be resolved.
How do I fix the issue?
For those of you who are mechanically trained or have access to an onsite maintenance person then this issue can be remedied in house. Firstly, you will need to consult your owner’s manual to find the location and access instructions for your pilot. Before you open your unit turn the gas off at the wall, STOP if you are unsure how to do this.
The pilot orifice is a brass nut at the end of the pilot tube, unscrew the pilot orifice and clean it, yes, it is that simple. You can clean the orifice by blowing on it or if needed use a very find grit sandpaper to remove stubborn buildup. Alternatively, if you do not have access to someone who can help you with this issue, then you can ask your commercial kitchen equipment service company to come in and perform this maintenance for you. For best results make sure this process is added to any existing planned maintenance program you have in place.