How to Light a Gas Fireplace Pilot Light

How to Light a Gas Fireplace Pilot Light

It’s happened to all of us, we’ve switched on the gas fireplace and…nothing!  No flame, no glow, no warmth. What happened?

Most likely, your pilot light has gone out.

It happens. Strong gusts, storms, any number of things can extinguish the pilot light. Now you need to relight it, but is it safe?

How Does the Gas Fireplace Pilot Light Work?

You may already know how pilot lights work, but if not, here is a simple explanation:

The pilot light on many gas-powered appliances, i.e., gas fireplace, water heater, gas stove or oven, burns with a constant small flame. That flame is ready at a moment’s notice to fire up your appliance making it instantly ready for use.

With an electric ignition appliance (including many newer gas fireplaces), there is no pilot light and the appliance is started with electricity. There are pros and cons to either, but the most obvious is a gas fireplace doesn’t need electricity and can provide heat during a power outage where an electric ignition gas fireplace is dead in the water.

How to Tell if Your Pilot Light is Lit

First, locate the gas control knob on your gas fireplace. It is usually behind a panel along the bottom of your fireplace.  If you don’t see a tiny, blue flame, your pilot light is out and needs to be relit manually.

Once you find the gas control knob, you should see a red or black button immediately above which is a spark mechanism. Press the button a couple of times and you should see a spark at the end of the pilot tube. The pilot needs to be relit.

Does it Have to be Lit by a Professional?

No, you can relight the pilot yourself and we’re going to tell you how. However, some people are uncomfortable with relighting a gas fireplace pilot light. In that case, contact your Vancouver area gas fireplace service company and they will gladly send a technician out to light it for you.

If you have any concerns about your personal safety, please shut off the gas and call your local service company to have them come light your pilot light. If you smell gas (as in a gas leak), call fortisBC or a certified gas fireplace technician.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Light a Gas Fireplace Pilot Light

Once you have removed the decorative cover and located the pilot light, follow these step-by-step instructions to have your gas fireplace working in no time:

  1. Locate the gas shut-off valve and turn the handle until it is parallel to the gas pipes. This turns off the gas.


  1. Remove the doors from the gas fireplace to prevent the build-up of gas while you are working on the fireplace, especially if the pilot is hard to light and requires several tries.


  1. As above, locate the gas control knob and the red or black push button just above it.


  1. Turn the gas control knob to the “Pilot” setting and push the knob in while quickly pressing and releasing the red or black push-button igniter. Release both knobs for 10 seconds and then try again.  If this lights the pilot, you are all set.  If not, move on to the next item.


  1. Using a long match or long-barreled lighter, press and hold down the gas control knob with the lit match or lighter until the pilot lights. The pilot should start immediately once the flame is close enough.


  1. Once the pilot is lit, hold the button down for about 20 seconds until the thermocouple has time to heat up. This will ensure your pilot light stays lit.


  1. Turn the gas control knob to the “On” setting, turn the gas shut-off valve back on, and replace the glass doors and decorative cover. You should be all set.

If at any time you begin to smell gas — stop and wait for the smell to disperse before attempting to light it again.

What to do if it won’t Stay Lit

If your pilot light won’t stay lit, you may have a blockage or debris in the pilot tube. You can try to clear it with a straight pin or contact your gas fireplace service company.

Time for a Gas Fireplace Maintenance and Cleaning!

Don’t forget that gas fireplaces require an annual inspection, maintenance and cleaning to operate at optimal efficiency. As an example, at Kirkstone Heating, we offer a 360 30-point Checklist where you can expect the following:

  • Carbon Monoxide emissions testing
  • Gas leak testing
  • Review of all fittings and connections
  • Thorough cleaning of logs and interior of the box and glass
  • Inspection and recalibration of the safety controls, thermostat, and switches
  • Measure pressure levels for the gas valves
  • Inspections and adjustments of the burner and pilot assemblies
  • Evaluation of the fan blowers and assemblies

Gas fireplaces should be clean and efficient to operate. With proper calibration and maintenance, you can expect decades of service.

Keep Kirkstone Heating in mind if you live in the city of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities. We serve the entire city of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities, which include Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Burnaby, Cloverdale, Coquitlam, Delta, Ladner, Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Tsawwassen, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock.

We have decades of expertise and our team consists solely of licensed, certified technicians, each with over 15 years of longevity in the gas fireplace industry. In addition, our crew is experienced in servicing all fireplace brands including Lennox, Napoleon, Superior, Regency, Valor, Majestic, and Heatilator.

Contact us for all of your gas fireplace maintenance and service needs.

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