Step By Step Guide for Relighting Your Furnace’s Pilot Light

December 20, 2022
Furnace in Orchard Park, NY

If you have an older furnace that runs on natural gas, then it’s likely equipped with a pilot light. This is a small blue flame that is used to ignite the main burner, which creates heat for your home. Unfortunately, your furnace’s pilot light can go out from time to time and may need to be relit.

Turn Off Power to Your Furnace

The very first thing that you want to do when it comes to relighting your furnace’s pilot light is to shut off the power to your furnace. You can do this at your breaker box or an on-off switch that is located on your furnace’s housing. It’s imperative that your furnace remain off during the relighting process to keep you safe.

Locate the Gas Valve Knob

The second step that you want to take is to locate the knob for the gas valve on your furnace. This knob will have three main positions: On, Off, and Pilot. Switch the knob to the Off position. This will prevent any gas from being fed into your furnace. You want to give it a good couple of minutes to allow any unused gas inside of your furnace to disperse before you try to relight your pilot light.

Turn the Knob to Pilot

Once you’ve given it a good five minutes, go ahead and turn the gas valve knob to the pilot position. What this position enables you to do is to control when gas is pushed to your pilot light via your red reset button. Unlike when the knob is set to on, gas doesn’t get supplied to your pilot light unless you’re holding down the red button.

Automatic vs. Manual Lights

Depending on the specific furnace that you have, it may have an automatic pilot light or a manual pilot light. In the event of an automatic pilot light, you’ll simply use the red ignition button to spark a flame that lights your pilot light. Automatic pilot lights are most common on newer furnaces.

If you don’t have an igniter button, then you have a manual pilot light. This will require you to use an external flame source to heat up the pilot light. It’s recommended that you use a long match or a grill lighter over the pilot light orifice while you’re holding down the red button. Be very mindful to keep your fingers out of the way, as the pilot light will create a flame very quickly. You’ll want to continue to compress the red button for at least 60 seconds when you’re manually lighting your furnace to ensure that it stays lit.

Turn the Gas Valve Knob to On

Once your pilot light seems to be burning fine, then you’ll want to turn the gas valve knob back to the on position. This will ensure that there’s a steady stream of gas coming into your furnace to supply fuel to your pilot light.

Turn the Power Back On

When your pilot light seems to be running fine, it’s time to turn the power back on to your furnace. You’ll need to do this at the circuit breaker at the on-off switch on your furnace’s housing. Give it a couple of minutes for your furnace to kick back on and try to produce heat.

You want to look in and make sure that your pilot light is still continuing to burn. The pilot light should be burning a solid blue color. If it’s a burning orange or yellow, it’s an indication that there is a problem with your pilot light and/or gas supply. It’s best to shut the system off and consult a professional to get the problem fixed before continuing to run your furnace.

Unsuccessful Relighting

If your pilot light went out due to a rare draft in your basement, relighting it through the procedure that we went through above should be adequate enough to get it started again. However, if your pilot light went out due to another issue, such as a gas supply problem, then you won’t be successful with relighting it. If you can’t get your furnace relit, it’s best to contact a licensed HVAC professional to evaluate it further.

Professional Furnace Services

Vastola Heating & Cooling provides professional furnace service for Orchard Park, NY and the surrounding community. We can assist with all of your heating, cooling, generator, ducting, ductless mini-split, boiler, smart thermostats, snow melt systems, water heater, duct sealing, and indoor air quality needs. Simply contact us today to get one of our helpful technicians on the way to your home.