How Much Does a Gas Pilot Light Cost to Run?
A gas pilot light is a small flame that is continuously burning to ignite the main burner of a gas appliance, such as a furnace, water heater, or stove. It serves as a safety feature, ensuring that there is always a flame ready to ignite the gas when the appliance is turned on. However, many people wonder how much it costs to keep this small flame burning all the time. In this article, we will explore the cost of running a gas pilot light and answer some frequently asked questions about this topic.
The Cost of Running a Gas Pilot Light
The cost of running a gas pilot light is relatively minimal compared to the overall energy consumption of a gas appliance. On average, a gas pilot light consumes about 600 to 900 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. The exact cost depends on the local gas rates, but it generally ranges from $0.05 to $0.10 per hour.
To calculate the cost of running a gas pilot light, you can multiply the BTU consumption by the cost per BTU. For example, if the gas rate is $0.08 per therm (100,000 BTUs), and the pilot light consumes 800 BTUs per hour, the cost would be:
800 BTUs/hour ÷ 100,000 BTUs/therm x $0.08/therm = $0.00064 per hour
In this example, the cost of running the pilot light would be less than a cent per hour. Over the course of a year, assuming the pilot light is always on, the cost would be around $9 – $17. However, it’s worth noting that some gas appliances have a larger pilot light, which can consume more BTUs and result in slightly higher costs.
Factors Affecting the Cost
Several factors can influence the cost of running a gas pilot light. Firstly, the gas rate in your area plays a significant role. Gas rates can vary depending on the region and time of year, so it’s essential to check with your local gas provider for the most accurate information.
Moreover, the size and efficiency of the pilot light can also impact the cost. A larger pilot light will consume more BTUs and thus cost more to run. Additionally, an older or less efficient appliance may have a higher pilot light consumption rate, leading to increased costs.
FAQs about Gas Pilot Light Costs
Q: Can I turn off the gas pilot light to save money?
A: Yes, turning off the pilot light when the appliance is not in use can save a small amount of money. However, keep in mind that relighting the pilot light can be a hassle and may require professional assistance.
Q: Is it safe to turn off the gas pilot light?
A: Turning off the gas pilot light is generally safe, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the main gas valve is also turned off to prevent any gas leaks.
Q: Are there any alternatives to a gas pilot light?
A: Yes, some newer appliances have electronic ignition systems that eliminate the need for a continuously burning pilot light. These systems are more energy-efficient and may result in lower operating costs.
Q: Can I install a pilot light switch to control when it’s on?
A: In some cases, it may be possible to install a pilot light switch that allows you to turn the flame on and off manually. However, it’s essential to consult a professional to ensure that it is done safely and in compliance with local regulations.
In conclusion, the cost of running a gas pilot light is relatively low compared to the overall energy consumption of a gas appliance. While the exact cost depends on factors such as gas rates and pilot light size, it typically ranges from $0.05 to $0.10 per hour. Turning off the pilot light when not in use can save a small amount of money, but it’s important to follow safety guidelines and manufacturer instructions.