If you own an older gas stove, you’ll have a small light called a pilot light beneath it. This should always stay lit so that the small blue flame can light bigger flames on your stovetop burners and oven. But sometimes, the light can go off due to several reasons. That’s when you’ll need to relight the pilot light stove to ensure that your burner ignites and is working properly. 

If the pilot goes out, it could be because of a draft from a window, or a gust of wind from a nearby door. Or, the pilot light and the flash tubes are covered in debris. Or, your stove is just old and needs replacement. When that happens, your heating appliances – whether at home or in commercial kitchens – will not ignite. This can be quite inconvenient for you as you won’t be able to cook your food. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to relight a pilot light stove that has gone out. 

Read more: Which is better, a gas or an electric stove?

What is a pilot light?

stove pilot

A pilot light is a gas burner or an electric lamp that ignites the moment you turn on your stove. It heats up a small metal tube located in the center of your stove. The lit tube then heats up and helps ignite another flame in cooktop stoves, gas ovens, or furnace heating systems.

If you have an extinguished pilot light, it will prevent your cooking equipment from starting. 

What is the exact location of the pilot light?  

Usually, you’ll be able to spot the pilot light beneath the burners, towards the front side. A few gas appliances may have it at the back corner, next to the door opening. In rare cases, you might find it in the broiler compartment. Large appliances may have more than one pilot light. You can use a flashlight to check for tiny flames beneath the surface of your stove. The pilot light port is usually where all the gas lines and pipes connect to the burners.

Sometimes, manufacturers label pilot light(s) to make it easier for people to find the pilot light. Anyhow, it’s best to refer to your appliance’s owner manual to confirm the exact location of the pilot light(s) on the stove.

Today, modern cooktops, stovetops, and gas ranges use an electric ignition system that has done away with the pilot light altogether. The latest stoves don’t have a pilot light. As a result, your home appliances have become more reliable and energy-efficient. 

Keep in mind that keeping the pilot lights on all the time can lead to high gas bills and unnecessary carbon monoxide gas in your home. 

Safety measures before relighting your pilot light stove

relighting pilot

Incorrectly turning off your pilot light stove can be a serious safety hazard – sometimes leading to injury or carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when dealing with the pilot light.

If the pilot lights are out on your heating equipment, take a few safety steps:

  • Turn on your ventilation hood.
  • Vent the area properly.
  • Check your gas line. If you suspect a gas leak or experience a strong gas odor, contact your gas provider immediately.
  • Do not light a flame until the gas leak is taken care of. 
  • If there’s no smell or an indication of a faulty stove, you can proceed to light the pilot. 

How to light a pilot light on a gas stove: a step-by-step guide

  1. Keep a microfiber cloth and a long-wand lighter or match handy.
  2. Turn off all your burners and ensure good ventilation.
  3. Remove the stovetop grates to reach the pilot light.
  4. Open up the stovetop by following the instructions in your kitchen appliance’s user manual.
  5. Locate the pilot port below the stovetop.
  6. Clean the pilot light area by removing grease or debris on the gas pipes as well as pilot valves with your microfiber cloth.
  7. Clean the burner holes with a needle or a long, straight pin.
  8. Light the pilot light. You’ll see a tiny blue flame shoot up.
  9. Close the top of the stovetop and put back the burner grates.
  10. Turn on the gas supply. 

It might be time for an upgrade if the pilot light keeps giving you issues and you know your gas range is beyond its lifespan. Keep in mind that a gas stove lasts about 13 to 15 years, on average – depending on your upkeep and maintenance.

Last thoughts

It’s common to face slight inconveniences with your stovetop or range hood somewhere down the line. All you need is knowledge about your kitchen appliances and easy fixes on how to deal with the problem. However, if the problem still persists, it may be time to call a licensed professional.

This complete guide on pilot ignition will help you keep a smooth fire going in your kitchen – making sure your Thanksgiving dinners and birthday parties go as planned.

How to relight a pilot light stove? was last modified: February 15th, 2023 by Ramona Sinha
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