There’s nothing cozier than curling up by your fireplace or basking in the warmth of your stove on a chilly night. In order to indulge in the pleasant blaze, however, you need to understand how to light a pilot light and prepare your fireplace for the upcoming cold season.
As the winter season approaches, it’s incredibly important to make sure your stove and fireplace are working properly. No chilly bare feet allowed here – only toasty, snug ones. A gas fireplace or stove makes keeping your home at a comfy temperature easy.
Is your fireplace ready for winter?
A majority of natural or propane-gas stoves and fireplaces have a standing pilot light — a small flame that continues to burn even while your unit isn’t actively in use. While this feature allows homeowners to quickly and conveniently start their fireplace or stove on a frigid day, many people opt to turn off their pilot light during warmer weather in an effort to conserve gas.
To help get your home warmed up once again, here is a step-by-step guide on how to light your pilot light.
Step #1: Start by locating the gas valve on your fireplace or stove (or water heater). If you take a look at the bottom, usually behind a louver or screen, the pilot lighting instructions are typically located in this area.
Step #2: Set the main burner switch, thermostat, or remote control to “OFF.” Turn thermostats down below room temperature to ensure the unit doesn’t call for heat.
Step #3: Locate the gas shut off valve located on the gas line of the unit and confirm that it is in the “ON” position. When on, the valve’s handle will be in line with the gas pipe; when off, the handle is perpendicular to the gas line.
Step #4: Next, locate the gas control knob, which you can find on the gas valve. The knob will contain 3 markers: Off, Pilot and On. You will also see a hatch mark or arrow on the valve body – you will line up the markers on the knob with that arrow. In the picture above, the mark is to the left of the OFF mark. This means the gas valve is set to off.
Step #5: Locate the pilot ignition/sparker button – it’s typically cylindrical in shape, and often red in color. You should be able to push it in and hear/feel a click.
Step #6: Turn the Gas Control Knob to the Pilot position by pushing it in and rotating it until the word, “PILOT” lines up with the appropriate mark.
Step #7: Push the Gas Control Knob in – you should hear the hiss of gas – and hold it in while pressing the igniter button. The hiss is simply the sound of gas flowing through the pilot assembly. You may be able to see a small spark at the pilot assembly. If you don’t hear gas or don’t see a spark at the assembly, the main gas supply may be off or the system may need servicing.
Step #8: If you hear a hiss and smell gas, but don’t see a spark at the pilot assembly, it may be a sign that the ignitor is faulty or malfunctioning. You can light the pilot with flame (lighter or match). The trick is to get the flame to where the gas is coming out.
Step #9: Once the pilot lights, continue to hold the pilot knob in for one minute, then release the knob slowly. At this point, the pilot should continue to burn on its own. If the pilot goes off, you may need to repeat the process and hold the gas control knob in a bit longer – count to 60 seconds. If it still goes out, call for service.
Step #10: Now that the pilot is burning, turn the knob to the ON position and leave it there.
Step #11: Now you can operate the fireplace or stove by thermostat, switch or remote. Note – this is counter-intuitive: If you operate a millivolt (standing pilot) appliance with a battery-powered wireless remote or wired thermostat, the main switch on the appliance (lower right in photo above) must be in the OFF position.
If you have a pilot light, the Gas Control Knob is set to ON, the switch is OFF and the thermostat or remote is calling for heat and you still don’t have fire, you may need to change out an old set of batteries. If your gas stove or fireplace has a standing pilot and it has a remote control or wireless thermostat, there are two places in which the batteries may need to be swapped out for new ones. (If it has a wired thermostat, there are no batteries – just wires that a mouse or vacuum might have chewed on.)
Once that’s done, you’re all set and ready to enjoy your gas stove or fireplace for the upcoming cold season!