Relight the Pilot Light & Get Your Furnace Back to Work

    Has your gas furnace gone out, leaving you freeeeezing? It's easy to relight the pilot light yourself, following the steps below.

    Safety Precautions

    Before you attempt a DIY fix, always read through and follow the manufacturer's instructions for your furnace. (There is often a label attached to furnace listing these instructions.) Different models function differently.

    Also be sure to open windows and doors in the area for ventilation before you try to relight the pilot light. Yes, we know it's chilly outside but this could be literally a matter of life or death.

    If there is a strong odor of gas in the air, stop what you are doing. Turn off the main gas line and and get everyone out of the house fast. Then call the gas company or your propane supplier to report a possible leak.

    What You Will Need

    A long match (a fireplace match is ideal), or a butane BBQ grill lighter.

    What to Do

    • Turn your thermostat to a warm temperature setting, 75 degrees or higher, in order to make the heat function turn on.

    • Look for the furnace's pilot valve. Shaped like a box, it is near the gas burners. It will have a knob marked "pilot," "on," and "off." Turn it to "off" and then wait 3-5 minutes for the gas to clear to avoid a potential explosion.

    • Now find the pilot, which is located right near the gas burner tube assembly in the furnace.

    • Turn the gas valve from "off" to "pilot." 

    • Light the match and place it at the pilot while you hold the red reset button down or depress the knob for 30-50 seconds. You should see a small pilot flame.

    • Slowly release the reset button or knob and turn the gas valve from "pilot" to "on."

    • If the pilot light did not ignite or does not stay lit, then try these steps again.

    If your second attempt to relight the pilot light is unsuccessful, you can try troubleshooting the pilot light problem. However, if you are at all unsure about what you are doing or the furnace itself is malfunctioning, play it safe and call a professional.

    Updated November 7, 2018.

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