Help! My Pilot Light Has Gone Out!

Hand on gas boiler


If the pilot light on your gas boiler suddenly goes out, you can take these steps to fix it:

● Follow the boiler instructions to re-ignite the pilot; these are usually found on the inside of your boiler panel or in the boiler manual.

If you can’t find the instructions, then the next step is to clarify what type of boiler pilot light you have. There are usually two types, which are:

● Automatic – you should be able to tell this by the safety label on the front of the boiler, which tells you that it is an automatic ignition system. If you can’t see a label, look at the gas control knob. If it only has two settings: on and off, then it has automatic ignition function. Note: Never try to manually light an automatic pilot light.

● Manual – the gas control knob on a manual pilot ignition will have three settings: on, off and pilot.

Igniting A Manual Pilot Light:

1. Turn the gas control knob to ‘off’ and wait for the gas fumes to go. This can take 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, turn your thermostat to its lowest setting.

2. Remove the panel or cover to the boiler.

3. Locate the pilot light. You’ll probably need a torch to do this.

4. Turn the gas control to ‘pilot’ and then press down on the knob. This will release gas into the pilot light hole.

5. Insert a lit match into the pilot light hole and ignite the pilot light, all the while pressing down on the knob. Keep doing this until the flame burns blue, and then remove the match.

6. Keep the pilot pressed down for another 45 seconds; after you release it, the pilot light should continue to burn. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 1-6, but this time, hold the knob down for a full minute.

7. If the pilot light has gone out again, it could be a sign that the thermocouple needs replacing and you’ll need to bring in a professional.

Igniting An Automatic Pilot Light

1. Turn off the electrical switch that controls the boiler. This will be an on/off switch on the boiler itself, or you’ll need to find the breaker panel and flip the breaker switch to the ‘off’ position.

2. Remove the access panel.

3. Turn the gas control knob to the ‘off’ position and allow the gas to dissipate for fifteen minutes or more if needed. Opening windows can help speed this up and ensure safety.

4. Turn the gas control knob to the ‘on’ position once you’re sure the gas has vented properly.

5. Switch the breaker or electrical switch to the ‘on’ position. Once you have done this, you will instantly hear a clicking noise: This is the automatic starter that ignites the pilot. If the pilot light doesn’t ignite after half a minute, or the clicking noise doesn’t stop, then you will need to call a professional.

Why Do I Need A Professional?

A boiler’s pilot light can go out for a variety of reasons and it doesn’t always mean you have to call in a plumber, but if you’ve tried to ignite your pilot light without success, you could have a gas supply problem or need a RGII registered engineer to fix your boiler.

A pilot light that keeps going out after being ignited could be a sign of damaged or dirty parts; either way, it’s of vital importance to get the boiler and gas supply checked by somebody with the right credentials. Always choose a plumber who is RGII registered: this means they are registered to work safely with Gas Boilers. Whoever you choose to go with, always make sure they have good online reviews or have been recommended by family or friends and always have the correct credentials. Whoever you choose to help you with your pilot light that’s gone out, we wish you luck!