How to Light a Gas Fireplace Pilot Light

Disclaimer: This is a generic guide. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific gas fireplace model for the most accurate and safe instructions.


  1. Locate Instructions: You can usually find the manufacturer’s instructions printed on a laminated or metal card behind your fireplace’s bottom access panel. Wipe it clean with a damp paper towel if it’s dusty.
  2. Check for Gas: Turn on the main gas valve (usually found within 6 feet of the appliance). Sniff around and ensure you don’t smell gas; if you do, don’t try to light the pilot. Turn the gas off and call a professional immediately.
  3. Locate Pilot and Thermocouple: Look for two protrusions inside your fireplace. One is the pilot, and the other is a thermocouple. The thermocouple is a safety feature that shuts off the gas to the pilot if it goes out and the thermocouple gets cold. If you have trouble locating the pilot, try clicking the ignitor button and looking for the blue electric arc.
  4. Turn Off Pilot Control Knob: Find the pilot control knob, usually labeled with “ON,” “OFF,” and “PILOT.” Turn it to “OFF” and wait 5 minutes. Smell for gas again to make sure there are no leaks. If you smell gas, turn off the main valve and call a professional.
  5. Set to ‘PILOT’: Turn the knob to the “PILOT” position. Press down on it with your thumb to force gas to the pilot.
  6. Ignite Pilot: While holding down the knob, push the built-in piezo igniter button (found on most newer appliances) to create a spark. If it doesn’t light on the first try, try a few more times. You should see a blue electric arc followed by a small pilot flame. If your unit lacks an igniter button, use a long match or grill lighter.
  7. Keep pressing the knob: It will take about a minute for about a minute to allow the thermocouple to warm up so gas can continually flow to the pilot.
  8. Release and Set to ‘ON’: Release the knob; the pilot light should stay on. Turn the knob to the “ON” position.

Additional Notes

  • If the pilot light goes out, you may need to start again from step 4. If your pilot still won’t stay lit after releasing the control nob, you may have a faulty thermocouple and should call for service.

Should You Turn Off Your Fireplace Pilot Light During Summer?

It’s a matter of personal preference, but here are some considerations: Leaving it on uses very little gas, and turning it off could allow spiders or pests to move in. 

Remember, safety first! Call a professional if you smell gas or encounter any issues lighting your pilot.