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Learn How to Safely Relight Your Gas Furnace Pilot Light

flames from a gas furnace pilot light

Winters in Brevard County, FL, aren’t very long and they aren’t terribly cold, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have chilly days! And when we turn on the heat, we expect it to work. What about when the heater doesn’t kick on? For those homeowners with furnaces, it might be that your pilot light has been blown out. If so, you may or may not know how to re-light it. And that’s what we’re here for!

At Cool Rays AC and Heating, we know that lighting a pilot light shouldn’t be a service call. Lighting a pilot light on a furnace is an easy process, and we’re going to break it down into three simple steps (plus a video, just in case!). So if you’re wondering “can I light my own pilot light on my furnace?” – the answer is yes!

Want to see this process in action before trying it yourself? Check out this video guide to see what your gas furnace should look like while reigniting the heater.

Today we’ll be going over:

  • Resetting Pilot Light on Furnace Systems
  • Checking Pilot Light on Furnace Systems
  • Step-By-Step Instructions for Re-lighting
  • What to Do if You Can’t Restart Your Pilot Light

Step 1: Find the Pilot Light & Turn Off the Gas

cocoa furnace repair for pilot light

If you have the instructions for lighting your pilot light, that’s a great first step. But sometimes we lose manuals or the print is hard to read on the furnace. The first thing you’ll want to do is find where the pilot light is and make sure that it’s out (to confirm the problem). Often, the furnace pilot light location is behind a panel that you’ll need to remove.

Then, look for the gas control valve. Usually, this small knob is located at the bottom of the furnace, and you’ll recognize it by the “On,” “Off,” and “Pilot” settings. You’ll also want to find the reset button for the control panel.

Now, turn the knob to “Off.”

man adjusting the gas line for a residential gas-powered furnace

Step 2: Wait At Least Five Minutes

This is a very important step for your safety and your home. After you switch the gas to “Off,” you MUST wait at least five minutes before continuing. This is because odorless, colorless natural gas may have collected since the pilot light was off, and you need to wait in order to let the gas dissipate. If you do not, it could cause an explosion! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Doing so could cause serious injure to you or damage to your home.

Step 3: Re-Light the Pilot Light

Now, it’s time to relight your gas heater. This is actually a quick and easy process, and you’ll be back to fighting the frigid air in no time! If you suspect a gas leak at any point, immediately turn the gas line off and call a professional!

  • Turn the gas valve knob setting to “Pilot.”
  • Hold down the reset button on the control panel.
  • Put a lighter or match up to the opening of the pilot light.
  • Wait until the pilot light is strongly burning and release the reset button.
  • Turn the knob back to “On.”

This should let you furnace start back up automatically, and the pilot light should stay lit. We recommend sticking around and watching the heater for several minutes to make sure there are no strange noises and to check that the pilot light remains lit. If not, then you may have to clean the opening to prevent a blockage or clean the thermocouple.

What If It Doesn’t Work?

If you try several times to start your pilot light and it just won’t stay lit, then there’s something wrong with your furnace. Turn the gas off – it’s time to call a professional to diagnose the issue. Get your heat back up and running with a local heating specialist like Cool Rays that can safely repair or replace your gas furnace. A great heater will make sure that you stay comfortable even on the coldest days, so don’t wait to schedule your furnace service call!

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