You will see a small blue flame coming from the pilot nozzle in the pilot valve body. If you do not see a flame, you may need to light your pilot. To light the pilot, turn the control valve on the pilot valve body to the “OFF” position. Wait at least 10 minutes to allow any residual gas in the system to dissipate. Once this has been done, turn the control valve to the “PILOT” setting. Push down on the center of the control knob (some furnaces may have a separate pilot reset button that must be depressed instead). Now use a fireplace match and light the pilot at the pilot nozzle. Continue to hold down the control knob or the reset button for at least 30 seconds before releasing it. Turn the control knob to the “ON” position and observe the pilot light. If it stays on, you are done. If it went out, hold down the control knob or reset button again. If the gas has been shut off to your furnace for any reason, you may have to hold down the knob or reset button for a minute or more. Relight the pilot and turn the knob to “ON”.
If your pilot control valve does not have a “PILOT” setting, your furnace may have an electronic igniter for the pilot. These types of pilots cannot be lit manually.
The pilot light on your gas furnace utilizes a small flame for the purpose of igniting the gas burner when your furnace switches on. The pilot light on older gas furnaces must be lit manually and stays on continually, while newer models use an electronic ignition system that is safer and uses less gas, as the pilot light is lit automatically only when the furnace switches on. Knowing where the pilot light is located will be helpful in getting your furnace back up and running quickly.
Remove the front sheet metal access panel on the front of the furnace. Lift straight up on the panel slightly to release it from the tracks. Pull the panel away from the furnace and place it aside.
Follow the main gas line to the pilot valve body, which is visible after removing the access panel.
Locate the pilot valve body, which is box shaped and has a knob to control the gas flow to the furnace and is usually mounted at the base of the furnace at the front.
Locate the pilot nozzle, which is mounted within the pilot valve body near the control valve. Replace the front access panel when your are finished.
Thomas West has been writing professionally since 2002. He earned his M.A. in English at Syracuse University, where he is also pursuing his Ph.D.