How to Turn Off Pilot Light?

Learn how to do it right and safely to both switch it back on in autumn easily.

How to Turn Off Pilot Light

When cold days are passing by and spring is approaching, we start hanging our coats back into the closets, our winter boots return back to baskets, and scarves and gloves are back again into the storage. We no longer need layers of clothes to keep us warm.

And so our furnaces no longer need to keep the heat pumping throughout the house.

But this is the very moment when most of us ask ourselves the same question: how do I turn off the pilot light correctly?

What shall I do to turn my gas furnace in a safe and efficient way so that it could be switched on back again next fall easily?

This is what we are going to help you out with today!

Related: The Ultimate Guide on Why Does Your Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On My Furnace?

You might not be aware of that, but gas appliances usually have pilot lights that stay lit at all times and are used for burning off the excess natural gas that is coming through the system.

And if you need your gas appliance to undergo a certain maintenance procedure, or you just want to switch it off after the winter is gone, you will have to turn the pilot light off.

Have you ever wondered how to turn off the furnace pilot light? In fact, it is very simple!

The overall sequence of actions looks like this:

  • you switch the mode on the thermostat to “off” position
  • locate the dial or valve
  • rotate it to the off position
  • rotate the gas valve to turn it off
  • check the pilot light

The only complication you may face is that different types of gas appliances (for instance, furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, etc.) will have certain minor distinctions.

It means that turning their pilot lights off will require slightly different steps from you, but that’s all.

So below we will explain in detail in a step by step guide how you should turn off pilot lights on three different types of gas appliances which are a gas furnace, gas oven, and water heater.

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On My Furnace
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Related: How Big Should Pilot Light Be on A Gas Fireplace?

Turning Off Your Gas Furnace Pilot Light

Start with turning the thermostat off or at least as low as possible. In case your thermostat controller has the “off” switch, then turn it off completely to make the furnace stop running at all. And in case you are not able to turn the thermostat completely, just set it to the lowest temperature possible.

This way, the furnace will not kick in while you are trying to turn the pilot light off.

Then, inspect your furnace and look for a small black or green dial that has “on”, “off”, and “pilot” markings on it. It is usually located behind an access panel or on the gas intake pipe. However, sometimes it can also be located on the outside, so look carefully.

And if you still can’t find the dial, you might need to turn the gas off at the intake pipe.

Turning Off Your Gas Furnace Pilot Light
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Once you have spotted it, switch the dial to the Off position if your gas furnace has one. Just press down on the dial to be able to rotate it, and do it.

The arrow or the mark on top must be pointing to the Off sign. Once the dial is turned off, the gas supply will shut off for the furnace leading to pilot lights turning off.

Finally, rotate the gas valve on the intake pipe to turn it off. In case you have a straight lever that is controlling the gas intake, turn it to make it point away from the pipe.

But if you have a round knob instead, you will need to rotate it clockwise as far as you are able to turn the gas supply off.

And remember that it might take your pilot light a few seconds to go off!

My Pilot Light Will Not Stay Lit (5 minute fix)My Pilot Light Will Not Stay Lit (5 minute fix)

Related: How to Light a Water Heater With Electronic Pilot?

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On Water Heater?

To turn the water heater pilot light off, set the heater to the lowest temperature possible. Locate the dial first on the side of the water heater, and spin it clockwise to reduce the temperature until it is as low as possible.

Then switch the button on the heater to the Off position. What button shall you look for? The one that has “on”, “off”, and “Pilot” markings on it. To turn it off, simply press on it and rotate until the arrow points to the Off position.

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On Water Heater
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Now, remove the access panel on your water heater to see if the pilot light is indeed out.

When you remove the panel, right behind it, you will either find an opening or a viewing window so that you could look inside of the heater. So if you see no light there, then you really turned it off.

However, if you can still see the flame, it might be the sign that you have a faulty part that does not work properly!

Finally, if all the above steps did not lead to the pilot light being off, you can turn the gas intake valve perpendicular to the pipe.

This is the last option that you can use in order to put the pilot light down.

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On Water Heater
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How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On a Gas Oven?

To turn the pilot light off on your gas oven, you will have to use force and move the stove from the wall to be able to access the gas line.

There, find the gas valve of the oven and turn it to the Off position.

Now you can take a look inside of the oven to check whether its pilot light is still burning.

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On a Gas Oven
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You can easily spot it since pilot light is usually located in one of the bottom corners inside of the oven. There is also usually a “Pilot Light” label printed nearby. If you don’t see the pilot light and no gas smell can be sensed, then it is a success!

But if the light is out but you can still sense the smell of gas, call the professional gas service to come and check your oven.

Like this, you are now aware of how to turn the pilot light off on the most used gas appliances in your home.

And since you know the proper sequence of actions now that are needed for turning the pilot off, we are sure that doing this correctly will not be an issue for you anymore.

How to Turn Off a Pilot Light On a Gas Oven
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Shall I Keep It On Or Better Switch It Off?

Quite many homeowners ask themselves this question because they are not sure how reasonable it is to turn the pilot light completely.

Well, turning it off when your gas appliances like a furnace are not in constant use does have certain benefits, of course.

  1. it saves energy
  2. it saves you money that you would spend on energy bills should you leave your pilot light on
  3. it makes your household more environmental friendly since gas consumption eats up the surrounding area
Shall I Keep It On Or Better Switch It Off
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On the other hand, consider the opposite point of view as well: your gas furnace does not use too much gas to power the pilot light.

If you turn the pilot off, you will save around a few dollars each month. So if you don’t mind paying a few extra bucks monthly, we do not recommend you mess with it.

Shall I Keep It On Or Better Switch It Off
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Reasons to Leave Your Pilot Light On

Have you ever thought of why you should leave your pilot light on? If you never have, we prepared a few reasonable arguments for you to check out.

  • If your gas company charges a minimum service fee monthly, it is better to leave the pilot light on. It will hardly burn too much fuel for you to exceed the minimal charge.
  • Do you know how to relight it? Colds may return unexpectedly making you want to relight your pilot light. And it may take a few days for a professional to make it to your house to professionally relight the pilot.
  • If your furnace is located in a dark place, for instance, in a basement where insects dwell, turning the pilot light off may be like an invitation for them to set up a nest in it! In this case, keeping it on is a way better option.
  • Finally, if you plan on scheduling regular fall maintenance so that a professional can check the state of your equipment, you would want to keep your pilot light off.

Consider all these nuances before you decide whether you will turn your pilot light off or you will keep it working.

Reasons to Leave Your Pilot Light On
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A Few More Ways to Save On Utilities

Even if you decide that you don’t want to fuss and turn off the pilot light (since it is really quite a lot of hassle!), there are still plenty of ways you can save energy during the summer.

So if you are concerned about this issue, grab these ideas on saving some cash this summer!

  1. Try to turn your thermostat up a few degrees. Adjusting your thermostat by only a few degrees will allow you to reduce the energy use of five to fifteen percent on your every year bill.
  2. Make use of blinds and curtains. If you cover your windows, especially those that face south, you will block out hot sunlight and thus lessen the amount of heat that enters your home.
  3. Think of installing a smart thermostat. You can program it so that it will be automatically adjusting the temperature to be cooler during the hours that you are home. You can also customize the temperatures to be comfy for you when you sleep with the higher heat when you are not at home. This way, you will have significant savings during the summer.
  4. Schedule spring maintenance with a qualified technician. Professional maintenance will ensure your entire unit is functioning properly and effectively.

So even if you don’t feel like turning the pilot light off and then turning it on again, you can always consider using one of these methods to save some money on your energy bills!

A Few More Ways to Save On Utilities
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How to Turn a Pilot Light Back On On My Gas Furnace?

So, now you know what to do to turn your pilot light off correctly. But what if colds returned unexpectedly making you want to bring warmth back into your house?

Of course, in this case you would like to turn the pilot light back on again! But do you know how to do it properly?

First of all, remember that you are dealing with gas which is a highly flammable substance that can explode! So even before you begin, sniff the air in order to define whether you can sense the smell of gas. If you don’t know how it smells, simply remember the smell of a rotten egg!

Is there no smell like this around? Good, then you can proceed. But anyway, if you don’t feel confident enough to start your pilot light again on your own, better call for professional help. Call a service technician!

How to Turn a Pilot Light Back On On My Gas Furnace
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In case you know what to do and how to do it, determine whether you need a lighter to light your pilot.

See, many newer gas fireplaces or furnaces only have a button that when pushed will click and create a spark. That spark will start the pilot light.

So if you don’t see any spark buttons that are usually red, make use of one of those extra long lighters.

Now turn the valve from the Off position to the Pilot position (you may need to press on the valve to be able to turn it).

Then, light the lighter and put the flame near the pilot light inside of the unit.

How to Turn a Pilot Light Back On On My Gas Furnace
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Now you need to press the knob, or a button near the knob, to get gas flowing to the pilot. You will hear a slight hissing which indicates that the gas is flowing.

With the use of a lighter, your pilot light should start pretty quickly. And if you have a spark button, press it repeatedly until the pilot light ignites.

And remember that it may take you from a few seconds to one minute to start your pilot light again!

Well, now we have shared all the information we wanted with you.

Make sure you read it carefully and use it next time you will want to turn your pilot light off or switch it on again.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ What’s the cost of the annual gas furnace maintenance?

An average price for a furnace tune up is 115 to 200 dollars.

⭐ Is a pilot light in the oven and the pilot of a furnace turned off the same way?

Basically, yes.

⭐ Do gas furnaces need annual maintenance?

Yes, a gas furnace should be serviced at least once a year.

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Camilla is an experienced Consultant with more than 20 years of preparing professional articles for numerous online resources. She has done a tremendous job and has learned a lot during her career. Camilla will advise you on the latest trends and give amazing tips on how to decorate a house.
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