How Do I Relight the Pilot Light on My Gas Wall Heater?

Gas wall heaters are more econimical than central furnaces, but sometimes the pilot light goes out. A pilot light can be extinguished for a variety of common reasons: heavy winds, air in the gas pipe or an uneven gas flow. Fortunately, reigniting a pilot light on a gas wall heater is easy, though it should not be done without following a few precautionary measures.

Utility Lighter

You will need a utility lighter (also called a fireplace lighter) to relight an extinguished pilot light. Utility lighters have a wand that extends the lighter far away from your hand, giving you the safe distance you need to reach your pilot light without being burned by the flame. Don't try to spark the pilot light on a gas wall heater with a conventional butane lighter.


You will need to remove the front panel of your gas wall heater to access the pilot light. The front panel is usually under the vents and can be gripped at the knob and gently removed. Set the panel aside to find the pilot light. Pilot lights are inside a small metal box (around four inches long and wide) with a small glass window for viewing the flame. The pilot light box should have a front panel (this is the side with the small glass window) that either slides to the side or flips open. Open this panel and ascertain that there is no flame. Once you are certain of this, you'll need to find the gas valve, which controls the flow of gas to the pilot light and usually looks like a small switch or dial. The gas valve will have three settings: "Off," "On" and "Light." Your gas valve will probably be in the "On" position, but gas wall heaters have a safety feature that stops the gas flow in the event that the pilot light is extinguished.

If you smell natural gas and there is no flame in the pilot light, you should immediately call your natural gas provider because this indicates a gas leak and may pose a safety hazard.

If the area around the gas wall heater is odor-free, proceed by turning the gas valve switch to the "Off" position. Place the igniting end of your utility lighter inside the pilot light box as close to the gas line as you can (the gas line will be the small pipe or tube inside the pilot light box). Now switch the gas valve to "Light" with your free hand and ignite using your utility lighter. The flame should appear in the pilot light box and stay lit. Close the panel on the pilot light box. Switch the gas valve to "On." Replace the front panel on the gas wall heater, and you're done.