How to Safely Relight a Gas-Boiler Pilot Light

blue gas flames
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
What You'll Need
Supply of gas to boiler
Gas card with credit
What You'll Need
Supply of gas to boiler
Gas card with credit

It’s extremely rare for a modern gas-boiler pilot light to go out by itself. However, older combination boilers, which can be found in rented apartments or antique homes, can go out. If you have a modern pilot light that’s gone out, you should contact a professional to relight it. But, if you have an older gas-boiler pilot light, you can relight it with these simple steps.

Warning: Do not attempt to relight a modern boiler. If you attempt to light the boiler while there is still gas in the pilot-light pocket, you face the risk of an explosion. Call a professional or your gas company to relight this type of boiler. In addition, some gas-boiler regulations prohibit renters from altering their boilers in any way. Check with your gas company before continuing with this project.

Checking for Immediate Issues

Warning: If you think you may have a gas leak, or if you have any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your home immediately and call a professional.

Step 1 - Check for Gas Leaks

If your older gas-boiler pilot light has gone out, you should first smell the air for gas. If you can smell any gas in the air and your light has gone out, you might have a leak in the pipes leading to your boiler. If there is even a chance that you have a gas leak, immediately call your gas supplier, open the windows near the boiler, and leave the house.

Step 2 - Check for Carbon Monoxide

In addition, if there is no gas smell, but you see a triangular shape (the carbon monoxide warning) in the frame around the pilot light, you should leave the house and also call a professional to avoid any toxic side effects like headache, nausea, and even loss of consciousness. Protect yourself from carbon-monoxide poisoning by seeking medical attention.

Step 3 - Check Your Gas Card

If you’ve ruled out the above issues, you should check to make sure that your gas card has credit on it (or you've paid your gas bill). This is a simple, but often overlooked, cause of a gas light shutting off.

Lighting a Combination Boiler

Combination boilers have a pull-down panel with a series of knobs that can be used to increase and decrease heat supply and gas use. If you have this type of boiler, follow these directions to relight it.

Step 1 - Find the Pilot Knob

Looking directly at the pull-down panel, find the knob with a picture of a flame beside or on it. If there is no flame, it may have the word “pilot” written on it.

Step 2 - Turn the Knob

Turn the pilot knob to the left, and hold it. You should feel a little resistance, and you might hear a clicking sound.

Step 3 - Release the Knob

Release the knob. It should relight the pilot light when it snaps back to its original position. You may have to repeat this process until the boiler relights.