Kitchen Basics: How to Light a Pilot Light on a Gas Stove

What is a pilot light?

A pilot light is a tiny gas flame, typically fueled by natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, that acts as the spark to ignite a larger gas burner. In the past, pilot lights were left burning constantly, leading to gas wastage.

Nowadays, it is more typical to use an electric ignition for burners, although gas pilot lights are still employed for high-energy ignition needs, such as when lighting a sizable burner.

How to Light a Pilot Light on a Gas Stove?

A pilot light is a flame that ignites the old gas stove. While most modern gas appliances come equipped with electric starters or igniters, older models may still rely on a pilot light. If the flame goes out due to drafts, dust, or mechanical failures, your burners won’t ignite.

It’s important to know how to relight a pilot light on older appliances. Remember, if you find yourself constantly relighting the pilot light, it may be time to consider replacing your gas stove. This guide will walk you through lighting a pilot light on furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and ovens.

Lighting the pilot light on a gas stove is a relatively simple process, but it’s essential to follow safety precautions to avoid accidents. Here’s a detailed guide to help you light the pilot light on your gas stove:

Safety Precautions

1. Ensure Proper Ventilation: Open windows or doors to ensure the area is well-ventilated.

2. Check for Gas Leaks: Before attempting to light the pilot light, sniff around the stove for any gas smell. If you detect gas, do not proceed. Turn off the gas supply immediately, evacuate the area, and contact a professional.

Steps to Light the Pilot Light on a gas stove

1. Locate the Pilot Light:

Check your stove’s user manual for the exact location of the pilot light. It’s typically found near the burners or inside the oven compartment, often beneath a small metal plate.

2. Turn Off All Burners:

Ensure that all the stove burners are turned off. This will prevent any unintended ignition.

3. Access the Pilot Light:

Open the oven door or lift the stove top, depending on where your pilot light is located. Some stoves have a cover plate that you may need to remove.

4. Turn the Gas Control Knob to ‘Pilot’:

Locate the gas control knob, often found near the pilot light area. Turn it to the ‘Pilot’ setting. If your stove has a separate pilot light button, hold it down.

5. Ignite the Pilot Light:

Using a long match or a lighter, ignite the pilot light. Place the flame near the pilot light opening while holding the pilot light button (if your stove has one) or the control knob in the ‘Pilot’ position.

6. Hold the Control Knob:

Continue to hold the control knob in the ‘Pilot’ position for about 30 seconds after the pilot light ignites. This allows the thermocouple to heat up and ensure the flame stays lit.

7. Release and Observe:

Slowly release the control knob. Observe the pilot light to ensure it remains lit. If it goes out, repeat steps 4 to 6. If it stays lit, you can proceed to the next step.

8. Replace Any Covers:

If you removed a cover plate or lifted the stove top, put everything back in its original position.

9. Turn on the Burners:

Turn on one of the burners to check if the pilot light ignites the burner flame. If the burner lights up correctly, your pilot light is successfully lit.

Additional Tips:

  • Regular Maintenance: Regularly check and clean the pilot light area to prevent it from getting clogged with debris.
  • Professional Help: If you’re unable to light the pilot light after several attempts, or if you suspect there’s a problem with the gas line or stove, contact a professional technician for assistance.


What is the purpose of a pilot light?

The purpose of a pilot light is to provide a small flame which lights the gas coming out of the main burner. You can commonly find it on older model furnaces and water heaters. Nevertheless, the majority of contemporary heaters utilize a piezoelectric spark for igniting the burner.

Can I relight the pilot light by myself?

Yes, you can, though you need to be careful. To reignite the pilot light of your furnace or water heater on your own, you must manually activate a valve by pressing a button. Subsequently, you should ignite the pilot light and patiently wait for approximately 30-40 seconds until the thermocouple becomes sufficiently heated, allowing you to release the button.

Is relighting a pilot light dangerous?

Relighting a pilot light is potentially dangerous. If the flame is extinguished, the flow of gas into the pilot light tube will not cease, resulting in the continuous release of gas without ignition. This accumulation of gas in your room poses a potential risk of explosion when ignited. Although pilot tubes are equipped with a cut-off valve to address this issue, it is important to note that they can still be prone to faults.

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