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How to Safely Relight Your Furnace

Older gas furnaces use pilot lights to ignite the burners when heating is required. The pilot light is a small standby flame that burns all of the time. When it goes out, your furnace cannot function. Because gas is involved, you need to know how to safely relight your furnace. If your pilot light goes out more than once, you should find out why it’s failing. Your aging furnace likely needs repairs or replacement.

Tools RequiredSafely Relight Your Furnace

  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Lighter

Why Would a Furnace Pilot Light Go Out?

Most reasons behind a pilot light going out can be resolved with maintenance or a new part. Furnace repair technicians from Oliver can diagnose the problem and recommend how to proceed. When you follow the steps for how to safely relight your furnace, look for evidence behind the problem.

Common reasons pilots go out are:

Faulty thermocouple – This is a safety mechanism that shuts off gas flow if it can’t detect the pilot’s flame. It could be broken, dirty, or shifted out of place. Fixing it requires a visit from a trained technician.
Dirty pilot orifice – If dust and dirt block the hole that gas comes out, then the flame goes out.
Air movement extinguished the flame – A gust of wind from an open door or a running fan can simply blow out the pilot like a candle.
Failing gas regulator – This mechanism is inside the gas meter. When it fails, gas flow to your home becomes erratic.
Drop in gas supply – Peak demand for gas during cold snaps can reduce pressure in the supply lines. The pilot light goes out when it loses fuel.

Directions for How to Safely Relight Your Furnace

  1. Remove the panel covering the front of the furnace. You may need a screwdriver to do this.
  2. You should see the pilot light near the bottom of the unit. Inspect the area with a flashlight.
  3. Sniff the area for the odor of natural gas. If you smell a strong, persistent gas odor, stop and call your utility to report an emergency gas leak. Open your windows too.
  4. If you do not have a gas leak, proceed with how to safely relight your furnace.
  5. Find the reset switch. It is usually a knob with three settings: pilot, on, and off.
  6. Turn the knob to “off”.
  7. Wait for two or three minutes before doing anything.
  8. After waiting, get ready with your lighter and turn the knob to the pilot.
  9. Now press the knob.
  10. Bring the flaming lighter close to the pilot.
  11. Keep pressure on the knob until you see a new flame on the pilot.
  12. Release the knob.
  13. Watch the flame for a while to confirm that the pilot is staying lit.
  14. Monitor the furnace to make sure that the pilot remains lit.

Get a Furnace Tune-Up

Furnaces perform day in and day out through the heating season. They are not immune to wear and tear and need annual maintenance. A pilot light going out is a sign that the equipment is experiencing problems. A technician from Oliver can clean or replace the parts causing the flame to go out. Contact us online today or call 1-888-810-2681 for trusted furnace maintenance today.

Need help with this project?

If you do not have the time, tools, or experience necessary to complete the project, please contact the professionals at Oliver for help.

Contact us today at 1-888-810-2681 Get a Free Estimate
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