Steps to Ignite Your Oil Furnace Pilot Light

Starting an oil furnace pilot light can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t had to do one before. Understanding the process can be difficult and often requires assistance from a professional.

It is important to be aware of all the safety precautions when attempting to start your oil furnace. Knowing the correct steps to take is critical for a successful outcome. Taking the time to read the instructions carefully and review any safety warnings is an essential part of the process.

Having the correct tools and materials to get the job done is important. With the proper preparation and guidance, starting your oil furnace pilot light should be a smooth and successful experience.

How to Start an Oil Furnace Pilot Light?

An oil furnace is a heating system used to heat homes and other buildings. To start your furnace, you must first light the pilot light.

Before attempting to do this, ensure that the switch on the wall is in the ‘Off’ position and that the furnace is properly vented. Once you have done that, follow these steps to light the pilot light:

Turn the knob on the furnace to the ‘Pilot’ position. Push the knob in and hold it while you light a match or a long lighter. Put the flame of the match or lighter into the pilot light opening. The flame should be steady.

Release the knob and keep the match or lighter lit for about 30 seconds. If the pilot light ignites, turn the knob to the ‘On’ position.

If it does not ignite, ensure the knob is in the ‘Pilot’ position, repeat the process, and try again.

Once the pilot light has been lit, you can now turn the switch on the wall to the ‘On’ position. You should hear the furnace ignite and the flame should be steady.

If the flame flickers, you may need to adjust the pilot light. To do this, turn the knob to the ‘Off’ position, wait a few minutes, and then try to relight the pilot light.

Once the flame is steady, you can turn the knob to the ‘On’ position and enjoy the warmth of your furnace.

Starting an Oil Furnace Pilot Light

Oil furnaces are commonly used as a heating system for many homes. A pilot light is an important component of the system for optimal performance.

Without a pilot light, the furnace cannot be started and will not work. Here are some reasons why it is important to start the pilot light for an oil furnace.

Heat Efficiency: The pilot light helps to maintain a consistent temperature in the home by keeping the air warm. This is due to the heat created by the pilot light’s flame. The pilot light helps to heat the oil in the furnace to a higher temperature which allows it to be burned more efficiently.

Safety: Starting the pilot light of an oil furnace also ensures safety. The pilot light prevents the accumulation of gas in the furnace which can be potentially hazardous. If the pilot light is off, the furnace will not work and the gas will not be able to be released.

Cost Savings: Starting the pilot light of an oil furnace helps to save costs in the long run. When the pilot light is on, it helps the furnace to run more efficiently which leads to lower energy bills.

Maintenance: Starting a pilot light for an oil furnace is also important for maintenance purposes. The pilot light helps to detect any potential issues with the furnace and allows for it to be fixed quickly.

What Materials and Tools Are Needed to Start an Oil Furnace Pilot Light?

To start an oil furnace pilot light, you will need a few essential materials and tools. Firstly, a pair of safety glasses protect your eyes from any debris or sparks.

You will also need a flathead screwdriver and a long lighter. Also, you will need a flashlight to help you see in darker areas and a small mirror to help you view the pilot light hole.

You may also need to purchase a thermocouple replacement if the existing one is broken. This is a device that senses the heat of the pilot light and helps to control the flow of gas. Make sure you have a wrench and wire cutters on hand to help with any repairs.

It is important to be aware of the safety precautions when handling any of these materials and tools. Make sure to keep your work area clean, and never light the pilot light without proper ventilation.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Starting an Oil Furnace Pilot Light

Before attempting to start the oil furnace pilot light, it is important to ensure that the thermostat is set to a temperature higher than the current room temperature. Make sure that the filter and the air vents are clean and free of any obstruction.

To start the oil furnace pilot light, begin by locating the pilot light’s access panel. Then, switch off the gas valve and wait for 5 minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

After that, press and hold down the reset button for 30 seconds. Once the reset button has been held down, turn the gas valve back on and press the reset button once more. The next step is to light the pilot light.

To do this, hold a lit match or lighter close to the pilot light opening and press the reset button. This should cause the pilot light to ignite. If it does not, try again by pressing and holding the reset button once more. Once the pilot light is lit, the last step is to adjust the flame.

To do this, use the flame adjustment screw to adjust the pilot light flame until it is blue. Once the flame is adjusted, turn the gas valve back off, replace the access panel, and turn the thermostat back on. The oil furnace pilot light should now be up and running.

Tips for Maintaining the Oil Furnace Pilot Light

Oil furnaces are known for their efficiency and longevity. To ensure the best performance and avoid costly repairs, regularly maintaining the oil furnace pilot light is essential.

Clean the Pilot Assembly: Clean the pilot assembly and the surrounding area to ensure that there is no debris or dust that can interfere with the pilot light’s flame.

Check the Pilot Light: Make sure that the pilot light is burning consistently and brightly. If it is flickering or yellow, it could be a sign of an issue.

Check the Flame Sensor: Inspect the flame sensor to make sure it isn’t blocked or corroded; if it is, you may need to clean or replace it.

Replace the Pilot Light: If the pilot light is not burning correctly, it may be time to replace it. Make sure to use the correct type of pilot light and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Test the Thermocouple: The thermocouple monitors the pilot light’s temperature and should be tested regularly. If it isn’t working correctly, it can cause the pilot light to go out.

Check the Burner Settings: Make sure the burner settings are set correctly for your furnace model. With regular maintenance, you can keep your oil furnace’s pilot light in top condition and ensure its efficiency. With the right care, your furnace will be running smoothly for years to come.

Common Troubleshooting Tips for Starting and Maintaining an Oil Furnace Pilot Light

To ensure a safe and reliable operation of an oil furnace, a pilot light needs to be regularly maintained. Here are some common troubleshooting tips to help keep it running:

Check the Valve: Make sure the valve is open to allow gas to flow to the pilot light.

Replace the Igniter: If the igniter has become worn down, replace it with a new one.

Clean the Pilot Assembly: The pilot assembly should be cleaned to ensure it is clear of any debris or build-up.

Replace the Thermocouple: If the thermocouple has become faulty, replace it to ensure the pilot light stays lit.

Adjust the Pilot Flame: The pilot flame should be adjusted to the correct size and shape.

Check for Leaks: Look for any potential gas leaks and make sure the connections are secure.

Check for Blockages: Make sure there are no blockages in the vent or flue pipe.

Some Important Tips That Should Follow

Starting an oil furnace pilot light can be a daunting task for first-timers. Here are some tips to help ensure the process is done safely and correctly.

Safety First: Before starting the oil furnace pilot light, make sure to wear safety goggles and protective gloves. Additionally, make sure the area is well-ventilated.

Igniter: Use a long-reach lighter or match to ignite the pilot light. Be sure to hold the lighter or match at the end of the tube, and not inside the tube, to avoid any risk of explosion.

Adjustment: After you successfully ignite the pilot light, adjust the flame so that it is a blue flame, not a yellow flame. If the flame is too high or too low, you might need to adjust the size of the orifice.

Thermocouple: After adjusting the flame, turn the thermostat on and off to check if it is working. If the pilot light goes off when the thermostat is switched off, it means that the thermocouple is working correctly.

Finally, monitor the pilot light over the next few days to ensure it is working properly. Make sure to check the flame size and orientation. If any adjustments are needed, make sure to re-adjust the orifice size.

Learn More: Is It Safe to Shut Down an Oil Furnace in Summer?


Starting an oil furnace pilot light is a relatively simple task that can be done in a few easy steps. Knowing the basics of how to light an oil furnace pilot light can help you save time and money in the long run, as you’ll be able to take care of this task yourself instead of relying on a professional. With the right tools and knowledge, you can light your oil furnace pilot light with ease and keep your home warm and comfortable.