How to Restart a Pilot Light

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A pilot light is an essential feature on many gas-powered appliances. It's designed to stay constantly lit in order to ignite the larger burner whenever needed. If your gas appliance has stopped working, it may well be because of a fault with your pilot light. You can often restart a pilot light yourself, so long as you have the right method and tools. Working with gas appliances does pose some safety risks, so always be careful. If you're ever in any doubt, call a professional, rather than taking any risks.

How to Restart a Pilot Light
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What Is a Pilot Light?

Pilot lights are the method of igniting most gas appliances. Three common examples are a furnace pilot light: A water heater pilot light and a gas stove pilot light. A pilot light will look like a small, blue-tinged flame connected to a small tube. Even though they're now seen as a bit wasteful, they still are a fairly common method for igniting gas appliances.

The gas stove pilot light is sometimes called a standing pilot. They are, essentially, a small flame which remains constantly lit, and can be used to ignite the rest of the appliance when needed. Some, more modern appliances have an electric ignition as opposed to a pilot light.

If your pilot light goes out, the appliance has no way to ignite the larger burner. You'll need to relight your pilot light, either with a match or a spark ignitor depending on your appliance. If your appliance has an electric ignition, do not attempt to relight it as there is no pilot light. Any relighting of a pilot light should be undertaken with care, and only by an adult.

Before you undertake any sort of pilot light repair, make sure you carefully sniff around the appliance for gas. If you can detect even a faint whiff of gas, there is a chance you have a gas leak. You should not attempt to relight and should step away from the appliance, immediately contacting your gas company for assistance.

How to Restart A Pilot Light With A Match Or Manual Lighter

Open the outer and inner access panels to your appliance. Find the smallest of the tubes, which is the pilot supply tube. Turn the temperature control knob as low as possible. Push and hold down this knob.

You can then attempt to relight the flame, either using a long safety match or a long lighter. Put the flame to the pilot light. Once the flame is lit, continue to hold the knob for at least 30 seconds, then gently release.

How to Relight A Pilot Light With A Spark Igniter

Open the outer and inner access panels once again. You need to locate both your pilot button and your spark igniter button. Push both of these buttons at the same time and hold them in place.

Gently lift the pressure on the spark igniter button, but hold the pilot button in place. You'll want to hold the pilot button down for at least 30 seconds after the pilot light is ignited.

Turn the pilot button to "on" and adjust your temperature gauge accordingly.

If after the relighting, your pilot light will not stay lit, you may have a more complex issue. It's recommended that you try this relight process twice and if it isn't working, then you may have an issue you alone cannot fix. There could be a blockage in your gas supply or your spark igniter could be broken. If this is the case, contact your gas supplier for more tailored advice or a specialized gas appliance engineer.


Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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