Most types of heating repair are best handled by a trained professional. After all, you do not want to leave your HVAC system in a dangerous situation, putting your entire family at risk for fire or gas leaks. Yet, there are some repairs that you can probably handle yourself, saving significant amounts of money over hiring someone to come to your home and do it for you. One of these repairs is re-lighting your pilot light.
Before you can attempt this heating repair job, you must first know how to tell if your pilot light has burnt out. On a furnace system, you will know that the pilot light has gone out if your furnace is not sending warm air. Keep in mind that newer furnace models do not have a pilot light, as they are not energy efficient, so consult with your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website if you are unsure about whether or not your unit has a pilot light.
The pilot light is part of the ignition system for a furnace. If your furnace has a standing pilot gas valve, then you can safely re-light the light if it goes out, rather than calling the professional HVAC repair technician. To do this, find the gas valve, which is a knob that has three settings: on, off, and pilot. Turn this from “on” to “pilot.”
On top of the gas valve you should see a button. Typically this button is red. Push it. Keep the button depressed, and place a lit match next to the pilot valve. To find the pilot valve, trace the copper colored wire from the valve to where it ends at the pilot assembly. Placing the lit match in the right spot will cause the pilot light to light. Keep the button pushed down for about 45 seconds after you light the light. Then, release the button, and the light should stay lit. If it does not, repeat the process one time. If it still will not light, you need professional heating repair, because most likely there is something else going on.
If the light does stay lit, then you have successfully done the repairs yourself. Turn the gas valve to the “on” position, and resume whatever you were doing before you attempted the repair, keeping an eye on your heating system to ensure it keeps working as it should.
If you doubt your ability to light the pilot light or cannot find it, you are always better off calling a professional heating repair technician rather than attempting a repair you really do not know how to do.
Remember, doing your own heating repair is never advised if you are not fully aware of what you are doing and how your unit works. The next time your heater isn’t getting warm enough, take some time to check the pilot light. If it is out, you now have the tools you need to re-light it and make your home warm again.