It may sometimes seem like any slight breeze can blow out your pilot light in your furnace system. This will leave you with no heat even when your thermostat is turned up, and it will be necessary to light the pilot light. Winter is the time when your gas furnace is working hardest, and it’s often when it fails to cooperate. In this article, we will teach you how to light a furnace pilot light when you need to.

Step 1 – Find the Instructions Label

Each furnace has a label that will tell you how to light the pilot light if it goes out. The label should be located prominently, but you may be lighting the pilot light in the dark, or the printing may seem hard to read. In these cases you can refer to these general instructions, so feel free to print them out and keep them safe, so you have a hard copy if you need it. Follow these instructions carefully and in order to light your gas furnace pilot light.

Step 2 – Locate the Pilot Light and Associated Components

Somewhere near the bottom of your furnace, you will see a switch that should be labeled “Pilot,” “On” and “Off.” Once you’ve located this switch make sure it’s set to the “Off” position and then wait for at least five minutes. This is necessary to ensure that the gas in the system has enough time to dissipate and will help you to avoid starting a fire. During this time you can go ahead and locate the “Reset” button which should be near the “Off” switch as we will need it later.

Step 3 – Lighting the Pilot Light

Now the gas has had adequate time to dissipate we can safely attempt to relight the pilot light. First, turn the switch to “Pilot,” then hold down the “Reset” button and use a long lighter to present a flame to the pilot light enclosure. The furnace pilot light should light straight away, and once you’re sure that it’s lit, you can release the “Reset” button.

Some Important Considerations

If you’ve carefully followed these three steps more than twice and the pilot light will not light it’s likely that there is a problem with the gas furnace.

If you try to light the pilot light without turning the furnace off the excess gas could cause damage and lead to a serious injury.
Unless you have formal training in furnace repairs, don’t try to fix gas furnace problems other than re-lighting the pilot light yourself.

If you don’t have a long lighter to light the furnace, use a long match or a long piece of tightly rolled up paper to act as a taper.

Some Final Thoughts

Unless you have an older or failing gas furnace, it shouldn’t be necessary to relight your pilot light very often. These steps will help you to light your pilot light safely, and it’s a useful skill that all gas furnace users should have. If your furnace is having problems coping and needs frequent attention, it may be time to get a replacement. A local heating expert will be able to offer advice on the best equipment to suit your needs.