Onsite HVAC

How to Relight a Pilot Light: A Step-by-Step Guide


A pilot light is a small, continuous flame found in older gas appliances like water heaters, furnaces, and stoves. Its purpose is to ignite the main burner whenever the appliance needs to heat up. However, sometimes the pilot light may go out due to various reasons, such as a gust of wind, a temporary gas supply interruption, or a malfunctioning thermocouple. Relighting the pilot light is a simple task that can save you from costly repairs and ensure your gas appliance operates efficiently. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of safely relighting a pilot light.

 The inner workings of an older residential natural gas furnace. All four burners are lit, with an extended DOF.

Step 1: Turn Off the Gas

Before attempting to relight the pilot light, it is essential to ensure there is no gas buildup around the appliance. Locate the gas supply valve, usually located near the gas line, and turn it to the “Off” position. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, do not proceed, and instead, call your gas utility company immediately or call Onsite Heating and Cooling at 604-554-4444.

Step 2: Allow Time for Gas Dissipation

After turning off the gas supply, wait for a few minutes to allow any accumulated gas to dissipate. This step is crucial to prevent any potential flare-ups when relighting the pilot light.

Step 3: Locate the Pilot Light Assembly

The pilot light assembly is typically located near the burner and is identifiable by a small tube or nozzle with a red or black button nearby. Consult your appliance’s user manual if you’re unsure of its exact location.

Step 4: Set the Control Knob to “Pilot”

Turn the control knob on the appliance to the “Pilot” position. This allows gas to flow to the pilot light when ignited.

Step 5: Press and Hold the Ignition Button

Press and hold the ignition button, located near the pilot light assembly, while simultaneously using a long-reach lighter or match to ignite the pilot light flame. Continue holding the ignition button for about 30 seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up.

Step 6: Release the Ignition Button

After 30 seconds, release the ignition button. If the pilot light remains lit, proceed to the next step. If not, repeat steps 3 to 6, as it may take a few attempts to relight the pilot light successfully.

Step 7: Set the Control Knob to “On”

Once the pilot light is burning steadily, turn the control knob on the appliance to the “On” position. This should ignite the main burner, and the appliance should begin functioning as usual.

Step 8: Check for Proper Operation

After relighting the pilot light, verify that the main burner ignites and operates correctly. If you encounter any issues, such as the pilot light going out repeatedly or the main burner not functioning correctly, it’s best to consult a qualified technician for further inspection and repairs.


Relighting a pilot light is a straightforward process that can be accomplished in just a few minutes. Remember to prioritize safety throughout the procedure by turning off the gas supply, allowing gas dissipation, and following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you encounter any difficulties or suspect an underlying issue with the appliance, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. Regularly inspect and maintain your gas appliances to prevent pilot light outages and ensure their safe and efficient operation. By following this step-by-step guide, you can keep your gas appliances running smoothly and enjoy the benefits of a reliable source of heat and hot water.

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