Gas Furnace


What if you come home someday and there’s no heat. It’s really cold outside, too. Now what. It’s probably something as simple as the pilot light going out or an igniter that has gone bad on your gas furnace. Most furnaces today use an igniter as opposed to a gas furnace pilot light. The igniter is simply a ceramic piece that heats up red hot when the thermostat tells the furnace that it’s time for heat. Similar to a pilot light, the igniter heats up then the gas furnace opens up the gas across the igniter thus producing flame. These jets of flame produce heat which is circulated throughout the home. After the flame has started, the igniter then turns off. The furnace knows that the flame has started because of another vital part called the flame sensor. If the furnace does have a pilot light however, relighting it is a very simple process that will most likely fix the problem of having no heat.

  1. First, make sure that the gas hasn’t been turned off to the furnace. Locate the gas valve somewhere along the gas line and make sure that it is in the “on” position. You may have no heat because some one turned off the gas.
  2. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific information about relighting the pilot light. Who better to tell you how to relight the pilot light than the furnace manufacturer? If you can’t find the instruction manual, go online and Google search the model number of your furnace and download a manual. The model number can typically be found inside the furnace cabinet along with a phone number to the manufacturer. If you can’t find a manual online, call the manufacturer.
  3. Locate the ignition button. The ignition button should be near a red button.  You’re going to need that button as well.
  4. Press and hold the red button while you press the ignition button. This should light the pilot light. If it does, hold the red button for a minute or so while the furnace is running.
  5. If the pilot doesn’t light, try again in about five minutes. Five minutes may seem like a long time while you’re sitting there with no heat but it will give the system time to dissipate some of that gas so that there are no tragic accidents.

While these instructions are a quite general reference, always consult the owner’s manual first, or call the manufacturer. Lighting a gas furnace pilot is pretty simple. However, there are times that the gas furnace just won’t light. We recommend at that point to call a heating contractor to come out to light the pilot and make sure that is all that is going wrong with your heating system.