How to Safely Light a Pilot Light on a Furnace: A Step-by-Step Guide

Gather the necessary tools and ensure safety


light pilot light on furnace

Before attempting to light the pilot light on your furnace, it is crucial to gather the necessary tools and take proper safety precautions. Ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you is paramount when dealing with any gas-related appliances.

The first step in this process is to gather the required tools. A flashlight is essential to provide adequate lighting in the area where the pilot light is located. This will allow you to clearly see what you are doing and minimize the risk of accidents. Additionally, a long-reach lighter is needed to safely ignite the pilot light without putting your hand too close to the flame.

Once you have the necessary tools, it is important to ensure the gas supply valve is in the off position. This valve controls the flow of gas to your furnace. By turning it off, you prevent any chance of gas leaking out and potentially causing a fire or explosion. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so double-checking the valve position is crucial.

Before proceeding with lighting the pilot light, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the furnace’s user manual. Every furnace model is slightly different, and the manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed for the best results. The user manual will provide specific guidelines for lighting the pilot light on your particular furnace model.

Now, let’s delve into the process of lighting the pilot light. Begin by finding the pilot assembly, which is usually located near the bottom of the furnace. The pilot assembly consists of the pilot burner and the pilot supply tube. It may be covered by a small metal plate or cap, which you will need to remove to access the pilot light.

Before proceeding any further, it is crucial to give the area around the pilot assembly a thorough inspection. Look for any signs of gas leaks, such as a rotten egg smell or a hissing sound. If you detect any gas leaks, do not proceed with lighting the pilot light. Instead, evacuate the area and contact a professional HVAC technician to assess and repair the issue.

Assuming there are no signs of gas leaks, you can carefully proceed with lighting the pilot light. With the gas supply valve in the off position, locate the pilot control knob. This knob will have markings indicating the “off,” “on,” and “pilot” positions. Turn the knob to the “pilot” position.

To ignite the pilot light, hold the lit long-reach lighter close to the pilot burner while simultaneously pressing the reset button or ignitor. The reset button or ignitor is usually located near the control knob. Keep holding the reset button or ignitor for a few seconds to allow the gas to flow and the pilot light to ignite. Once the pilot light is lit, you can release the reset button or ignitor.

Finally, it is important to monitor the pilot light for a few moments to ensure it remains lit. If the pilot light goes out after releasing the reset button or ignitor, repeat the process from the beginning. If the pilot light continues to go out, there may be an issue with the thermocouple or other components that require professional attention.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when dealing with gas appliances. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with any step of the process, it is recommended to contact a qualified HVAC technician who can assist you and ensure the proper and safe functioning of your furnace.

Release the control knob

pilot light on furnace

Now that you have successfully ignited the pilot light on your furnace, it’s important to release the control knob properly to ensure that the flame remains lit. This step is crucial to maintain a consistent and safe heating system in your home during the colder months.

After igniting the pilot light, it may take a few moments for the flame to stabilize. You can observe this by looking at the pilot light through the viewing window or opening on the furnace. It is important to be patient during this process, as rushing might extinguish the flame.

Once the flame has stabilized and appears steady, it’s time to safely release the control knob. This knob is usually located on the front panel or near the pilot light area and is responsible for controlling the flow of gas to the pilot light. It is commonly marked with labels such as “ON,” “OFF,” or “PILOT.”

To release the control knob, gently turn it in a counterclockwise direction until it pops back out or returns to its original position. You should feel a slight resistance when turning the knob.

It’s important to note that some furnace models may require you to hold the control knob in the “PILOT” position for a few seconds before releasing it. This allows the flame to establish a strong connection with the gas supply. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or the furnace’s user manual for specific details.

When releasing the control knob, be cautious not to jolt or shake it abruptly, as this may cause the flame to extinguish. A gentle and controlled release is necessary to ensure the pilot light remains lit.

Once you have successfully released the control knob, take a moment to observe the pilot light. It should remain lit steadily and emit a blue flame. If the flame appears weak, flickers, or goes out, this may indicate an issue with the pilot or gas supply. In such cases, it is recommended to contact a professional technician to inspect and troubleshoot your furnace.

Remember, safety is paramount when dealing with gas appliances. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak during the process of lighting the pilot light, ensure you immediately leave your home, avoid using any electrical devices, and contact your local gas utility or emergency services.

By following these instructions and properly releasing the control knob, you can ensure that your furnace’s pilot light remains lit, providing you with a warm and comfortable living space throughout the winter season.

Test the pilot light


pilot light furnace

Testing the pilot light on your furnace is an essential step to ensure it is functioning properly. A pilot light that is not lit or is constantly going out can result in your furnace not producing heat. Follow these steps to test the pilot light and determine if it needs to be relit:

1. Locate the control knob: The control knob is usually found near the bottom of the furnace. It is typically labeled with “Pilot,” “Off,” and “On” positions. Turn the control knob to the “Off” position and wait a few minutes for any gas to dissipate.

2. Turn the control knob to the “On” position: Once you have allowed time for the gas to dissipate, turn the control knob to the “On” position. This allows gas to flow to the pilot light.

3. Observe the main burner: After turning the control knob to the “On” position, keep a close eye on the main burner. If the pilot light is functioning correctly, the main burner should ignite, producing heat. This ignition of the main burner indicates the successful ignition of the pilot light.

4. Check for a steady blue flame: Once the main burner ignites, check the pilot light flame. It should be a steady, blue flame. A flickering or yellow flame could indicate a problem with the pilot light, such as a dirty or clogged orifice.

5. Listen for any unusual sounds: As the main burner ignites, listen for any unusual sounds coming from the furnace. A consistent clicking sound may indicate a faulty ignition system or a damaged thermocouple.

6. Check for any gas smells: While observing the pilot light, also be alert to any gas smells. If you detect the smell of gas, immediately turn the control knob to the “Off” position and contact a professional technician as there may be a gas leak.

7. Repeat the process if necessary: If the main burner fails to ignite or the pilot light flame is not steady and blue, repeat the process. Sometimes, the pilot light may need to be relit due to a temporary issue or an incorrect procedure followed during the first attempt.

8. Regular maintenance: To prevent future issues with the pilot light, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance on your furnace. This includes cleaning the pilot light orifice and ensuring proper ventilation around the furnace. Consult your furnace’s manual or contact a professional technician for specific maintenance guidelines.

9. Consider professional assistance: If you encounter persistent problems with the pilot light or if you are uncomfortable performing the test yourself, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a qualified HVAC technician. They have the necessary knowledge and experience to diagnose and repair any issues with your furnace’s pilot light.

10. Safety precautions: When dealing with gas appliances, it’s vital to prioritize safety. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary precautions. If you are unsure or feel unsafe during any step of the process, stop and seek professional assistance.

11. Replacing the pilot light assembly: In some cases, the pilot light assembly may need to be replaced if it is damaged or malfunctioning beyond repair. To replace the pilot light assembly, follow these steps:

pilot light assembly

a) Turn off the gas supply: Before replacing the pilot light assembly, make sure to turn off the gas supply to the furnace. Locate the gas valve near the furnace and turn it to the “Off” position.

b) Remove the old pilot light assembly: Carefully remove the old pilot light assembly from the furnace. This may involve unscrewing or unclipping it from its mounting bracket. Take note of the assembly’s orientation and how it connects to the gas supply.

c) Install the new pilot light assembly: Position the new pilot light assembly in the same orientation as the old one. Connect it to the gas supply, making sure to tighten any connections securely. Follow any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer.

d) Restore gas supply and test: Once the new pilot light assembly is installed, turn on the gas supply to the furnace. Follow the previous steps to test the pilot light and ensure it ignites successfully.

By following these steps, you can test the pilot light on your furnace and determine if it requires relighting or replacement. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs can help keep your furnace running efficiently and provide you with a consistent heat source during the colder months.

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