Instructions for Re-lighting a Furnace

When the temperatures drop in the winter, it can be so nice to turn up the heat and get cozy at home. When you have no heat, however, things can get uncomfortable pretty quickly. There could be many reasons why your furnace is not working, but a common reason is that the pilot light has gone out. It may have gone out because of a draft or some type of malfunction.

It’s usually quite simple to re-light the furnace. This means that you probably won’t have to have a professional come out and take a look. Below, you’ll find instructions for how to do it safely.

On the topic of safety, we do want to mention that any odor of gas should be a concern. Only proceed with the following steps if you’re confident that no gas is leaking.

As Simple as 1-2-3

Before starting the work, you’ll have to remove the access panel on the furnace. Usually, this panel isn’t affixed in any way; it can just be lifted off. In some cases, there may be a few screws or clips holding it into place. Be sure to pay attention to how you take off the panel so that you can put it back on securely.

To safely re-light your furnace, the first thing you should do is to look for the gas valve. This is usually towards the bottom of your furnace. It should have three positions, which are “Pilot,” “On,” and “Off.” When you first look at the valve, it’s most likely going to be in the “On” position. You’ll need to switch it to the “Off” position. This will turn off the gas. It’s very important to wait five minutes at this point. This gives the gas enough time to dissipate. If you don’t wait the requisite time, a fire could start when you ignite your lighter. While you’re waiting, locate the “Reset” button. Typically, it’s in close proximity to the gas valve and is a red color.

While you’re waiting, locate the pilot light opening. It should be easy to find if you use the gas valve control box as your guide. The box should have three pipes coming out of it, two of which are a little smaller than the other one. Follow the two smaller ones, and they should lead you straight to the pilot light opening.

After you’ve waited five minutes, turn the gas valve to the “Pilot” position. Then, get your lighter or match ready. It’s helpful if you use a long lighter or match because you don’t want to get your hand too close to the flame. Also, the pilot light opening might be tucked away, and you might have to stretch a bit to reach it. With one hand, press and hold the “Reset” button. With the other hand, hold the lighter or match at the opening of the pilot light. Doing this should light your pilot light within a few seconds. Once the pilot light has come on and you’re sure it’s a strong flame, let go of the “Reset” button.

The last thing you’ll have to do is to switch the gas valve back to the “On” position. At this point, your furnace should resume functioning as it normally does.

If the pilot light doesn’t catch on your first try, go ahead and repeat the steps after waiting a few minutes. On your second try, hold the reset button down for a bit longer, up to a minute, before releasing it. This should get the flame going a bit more vigorously. A stronger pilot light will have a better chance of staying lit and doing its job.

A Company You Can Trust

At Jco Heating A/C Electrical, we’d be happy to assist with any heating repairs for our customers in the Springfield, Oregon, region. In 2002, we were founded by two brothers who wanted to help their community, and we’re proud to be a family-run business. We’ve set up our business with convenience in mind, and we even have a mobile app that you can use to request service or maintenance and to stay aware of when it’s time for a filter change or tune-up. Jco Heating A/C Electrical provides cooling and heating system installation, repair, and maintenance, and we also offer assistance related to electrical systems. Give us a call to request more information or to set up an appointment.