Checking and Re-lighting Your Furnace Pilot Light Safely

Craig Plumbing Blog Posts-PilotLight

Fall is here, which means that it's time to start using your furnace on a regular basis. As the weather gets colder and we start spending more time indoors, it's important to make sure that our furnaces are in good working order.

You may have also put out the pilot light flame and turned your furnace off for the warm summer months. If this is the case, you need to re-light your pilot light in the furnace so you can warm up your house as it gets colder.

In this blog post, we'll walk you through the steps of how to safely check and re-light your furnace.

Why is it important to check my furnace?

Your furnace works hard to keep your home warm and comfortable all winter long. You don't want to have your furnace stop working on a cold, chilly day and have to wait for a professional to come repair it. By checking it regularly, you can catch any potential problems early on and prevent them from turning into bigger, more expensive repairs.

How can I tell if my furnace needs to be checked or serviced?

There are a few signs that indicate that your furnace might need to be checked or serviced:

-Your furnace is making strange noises

-The flame on your pilot light is yellow instead of blue

-The air coming out of your vents isn't as warm as it used to be

If you notice any of these signs, it's best to call a professional who can take a look at your furnace and determine what needs to be done. But if you are handy and want to troubleshoot any issues yourself, you want to make sure you have the know-how and proper tools available.


Be familiar with your furnace.

Spend some time getting familiar with your owner's manual before attempting to troubleshoot or fix any house furnace problem. Although you may obtain a number of broad troubleshooting suggestions online, it is usually preferable to follow the guidelines and instructions for your particular model.

How do I safely check and re-light my furnace?

If you're comfortable doing so, you can check and re-light your furnace yourself. However, if you're not confident in your ability to do so, please call a professional. The last thing we want is for anyone to get hurt while trying to fix their furnace!

With that being said, here are the steps for checking and re-lighting your furnace:

  1. Remove the access panel from your furnace so that you can see the pilot light assembly. Once again, exercise caution while doing this—there may be sharp edges on the panel or assembly that you can't see.
  2. Inspect the pilot light tube for dirt or debris and clean it off if necessary. You may need a small brush or some compressed air to help with this step.
  3. Check the pilot light igniter for cracks or damage and replace it if necessary. The igniter is usually located near the pilot light tube.
  4. Depending on the age or type of your furnace, the process for turning off the gas may vary. Find the gas valve control knob. Usually, it’s located somewhere near the bottom of the furnace. You’ll know that it’s the right knob when you see the words “On”, “Off”, and “Pilot.” Turn the control knob to the “Off” position so that gas stops flowing through the unit.

If you have an older model, locate the pilot light adjustment screw and turn it counterclockwise until the pilot light goes out (you may need a small screwdriver for this). 

  1. Once the pilot light is out, wait about 5 minutes before proceeding to the next step. This gives any gas that may have built up time to dissipate so that there's no risk of an explosion.
  2. Turn the control knob to “Pilot.” Ignite your lighter or light a match, then press and hold down the “Reset” button as you bring the flame to the opening of the pilot light. The pilot light should catch after a few seconds. When it has been lit, release pressure from the “Reset” button.
  3. Once the pilot light is lit, watch it for a minute or two to make sure that it stays lit—if it goes out again, repeat steps 4 – 6 until it stays lit. If you're having trouble getting it lit or keeping it lit, please call a professional as soon as possible as there may be a bigger problem with your furnace that needs to be addressed.


That's it! You're now ready to enjoy a warm home all winter long.

We hope that this blog post has been helpful in walking you through how to safely check and re-light your furnace! Remember, if you're ever feeling unsure about anything related to working on your furnace, please call a professional rather than trying to fix it yourself—it's not worth risking injury over something that can easily be handled by someone with experience. Stay safe and warm this winter!

If you have any questions or concerns about maintaining your furnace this fall or winter, please don't hesitate to contact us at 720-788-8641. We're always happy to help!