How To Find And Relight The Pilot Light On Your Gas Furnace

If you have a gas furnace and aren't sure where the controls are or how to relight the pilot light, you're in the right place. Gas furnaces are known to have pilot light issues now and then, so it's important to know where the light is, and how to relight it if necessary. You'll generally notice the house getting chilly and the furnace not kicking on and off like normal as indication of an issue. Problems like that can often be solved simply by relighting the pilot light. The pilot light ignites the gas that creates heat from your furnace, so if it goes out, it will not run. Luckily, it's a common problem with a simple fix and shouldn't happen very often. If it does happen often, you'll need to call an HVAC repair company to service your furnace. 

The most important thing to remember is if you ever smell a strong odor of gas, get everyone out of the house and call the gas company's emergency number immediately. Never take a chance or try to relight the pilot light if you even think you might smell gas. Now, assuming it's safe to do so, let's dive into locating and relighting the pilot light.

How to locate the pilot light

In order to check to see if your pilot light is working, you'll first need to locate it on the furnace. You'll be looking for a little door near the bottom on the front cover. You should be able to see it easily. Open up the door and look for a small flame inside. There's no mistaking it, because it's an actual flame of fire inside the furnace. This is what's called the pilot light, and it should always be lit, even when the furnace isn't actually running. If you don't see the flame, it means the pilot light is out. 

If you do see a flame, make sure you notice the color. The flame should be blue, so if it's any other color, it might indicate it needs to be cleaned by a professional. If you see the flame sputtering or notice anything unusual about it, always err on the side of caution and call an HVAC professional.

How to relight the pilot light

Typically also within the small compartment you're already looking at, you should see a knob that will have three settings: on, off, and pilot. If necessary, refer to the manual to find it. It is often this same knob that you'll press to reset and relight. First, turn the knob to "off," and wait at least two full minutes to allow the gas to dissipate. Next, turn it to "pilot." While pressing down the reset button, use a long match or a utility lighter to light the spot the flame should be, and it should immediately ignite. Once you release it, watch to be certain it stays lit. 

If there are no problems, turn the knob back to the "on" setting. Make sure you again stick around for a few minutes to make sure it continues to operate normally. If the pilot light doesn't stay lit, you should call an HVAC professional. Now that you know how to check the pilot light, you can make it part of your routine home maintenance and safety checks. It's as simple as that!