The automatic function of a home furnace or water heater relies on a number of elements that combine to maintain the appliance's desired temperature level. When the thermostat determines the set temperature is not present, it sends a signal to the electronic pilot light, which emits a spark to ignite the furnace or water heater burners. An electric pilot light can be manually ignited by a simple procedure to relight the burners and restore normal temperature maintenance.

Step 1

Check the electrical connection of the furnace or water heater at the wall outlet and main fuse or breaker panel. Often a tripped breaker or failed fuse will be the cause of an electric pilot light malfunction. The power must be on to the appliance.

Step 2

Depress and rotate the appliance's ignition control dial to "Pilot."

Step 3

Press the red igniter button on the control housing to spark the electric pilot mechanism and ignite the pilot flame. It may be necessary to press the igniter button several times to spark the pilot flame.

Step 4

Continue to depress the control dial for 15 seconds, and then release it. The pilot flame should remain lit. If it does not remain lit, repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the pilot flame remains on.

Step 5

Turn the ignition control dial to "On."

Step 6

Set the thermostat or temperature control dial to the desired temperature.