How to Light a Pilot Light on an Old Furnace

There's nothing like a warm, cozy house on a cold night. No one wants to spend a long winter night without heat. If your old gas furnace isn't heating it could simply be that your pilot light is out. Relighting it can seem a daunting task if you don't know your way around a furnace. However, there are actually only a few simple steps to get you back on the road to a warm house.

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Use a long-handled lighter to light your pilot light.

Step 1

Clear the residual gas before beginning. Find the pilot valve body, which is a box-shaped device located close to the gas burners. Turn the valve lever or knob to the "off" position. Wait a few minutes allowing residual gas to clear.

Step 2

Turn the gas valve from "off" to "pilot" if your pilot has a red reset button. For a pilot with a knob, press the knob down and turn from "off" to "pilot".

Step 3

Press and hold down the red button or knob. Hold the flame of a long-handled lighter to the pilot until it lights. Continue to hold the button or knob down for 30 seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up and open the gas valve.

Step 4

Release the button or knob slowly. Check that the pilot stays lit. If not, repeat the procedure, holding the button or knob down for 45 to 60 seconds.

Step 5

Turn the valve setting to "on" and you are in business.