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How to Light a Pilot Light on a Furnace

Older gas furnaces rely on a standing pilot light to ignite their fuel and heat your home or business. Newer furnaces often feature intermittent pilots with electric ignitions that automatically light when needed. But if your furnace includes a standing pilot light and it goes out, you won’t have heat until you relight it. And with record breaking cold across the country this past month, a house without heat is bound to get frigid.

Where is the pilot light on a furnace?

Finding the pilot light on a furnace is the first step toward relighting it. Most models hide the pilot behind a sheet metal access panel located on the front of the furnace. After removing the panel, you can trace the main gas line to the box-shaped pilot valve body. It should have a control knob with “On,” “Off,” and “Pilot” settings.

You should notice the pilot nozzle in the same area. This nozzle provides the gas supply to the furnace’s pilot light. If your furnace depends on a standing pilot light and you don’t see a flame above the nozzle, you’re in the right place.

You’ll also need to know where the reset button is located. Often attached to the blower motor, the reset button should jump out at you thanks to its red or yellow color. The button shuts down the furnace to prevent your circuit breaker from tripping when problems arise.

Now that you’ve found the necessary parts, let’s learn how to light a pilot light on a furnace.

  1. Turn Off the Gas
    The control knob inside the pilot valve body acts as a gas valve. If the pilot valve was left on, it may have filled the area with natural gas. And igniting a lighter or match could cause an explosion. To prevent that kind of disaster, turn the knob to “Off” and wait five minutes for any lingering gas to dissipate.
  2. Turn the Control Knob to “Pilot”
    After waiting for the gas to clear the area, you need to turn the gas back on to relight the pilot light. Turning the control knob to “Pilot” does just that.
  3. Hold Down the Reset Button and Light the Pilot
    While holding the down the reset button, light a match or lighter and hold it near the opening of the pilot nozzle. When you see the pilot light catch, you can release the reset button and extinguish the match or lighter.

If the pilot light doesn’t stay lit, try lighting it again. If it continues to die, it’s likely a symptom of a larger issue requiring professional attention.

At Pearson, we specialize in furnace installation and repair throughout the Rockford area. Whatever the problem may be, we can solve it. Give us a call at 815-398-8312 for help with heating, cooling, plumbing, or pests.

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