How to Clean Furnace Pilot Light


3 Easy Steps to Take When Cleaning a Furnace Pilot Light

A broken furnace is the last thing you want as winter’s chill deepens around central Iowa.

The pilot light on furnace is one of the most important components of your furnace, and it’s a common culprit in heating breakdowns.

A pilot light is an ever-burning gas flame built into your furnace to light it when heat is necessary. Since the pilot light has a constant flow of natural gas to it, if it ever extinguishes, you would find yourself with a gas suffocation problem.

Luckily, cleaning a furnace pilot light is often all you need to do to get your furnace back up and running again. So today we will share a few tips with you on how to clean your pilot light properly without professional help. Don’t worry, it is not difficult at all!

Furnace Pilot Light Cleaning Supplies

  • Wire Brush
  • Metal File
  • Pliers or Wrench
  • Cloth or Compressed Air

Step 1: Turn off the Furnace

Never touch a pilot light that still has power and fuel as you could severely burn yourself. Follow these steps to turn your furnace off safely:

  • Shut off the circuit breaker panel that’s associated with your furnace to ensure there’s no electricity.
  • Find the natural gas shutoff valve, and turn it to a completely closed position.
  • Remove the protective panel on your furnace to reveal the pilot light, and turn the control knob to “off.”

The gas shutoff valve should be on the wall near the furnace, or on the outside of the furnace body itself. If you can’t find it, contact a qualified service technician at Service Legends. Do not proceed until you know for certain there’s no fuel going to the furnace.

Step 2: Clean Debris From the Pilot Light

  • Using a paper clip or wire brush, clear any buildup or debris away from the mouth of the pilot light. Make sure nothing is stuck to the metal.
  • Next, use compressed air to drive out soot and soil that may be deep inside the pilot light.
  • Then, use a handheld vacuum or canister vacuum with a nozzle attachment to remove any remaining particles.

Step 3: Restore Gas and How to Light Pilot Light on the Furnace

Turn the gas shutoff valve and the electrical circuit breaker back on. Follow the instructions on your furnace owner’s manual to relight the pilot light, and then set it to run as usual. Turn up the thermostat until the furnace fires to ensure that it’s working properly and that nothing is blocking the flow of gas. If the pilot still won’t light or stay lit, call for professional furnace repair.


If fixing your furnace pilot light doesn’t get your heater back up and running, call our Home Comfort Heroes who are standing by ready to help keep your home safe and warm 24/7. If you have concerns about the way your furnace is functioning or would like to schedule a repair, give us a call today. You can rest assured with ultimate peace of mind with our Fixed Right Or It’s Free guarantee!


Service Legends is proud to provide the all-in-one HVAC, electrical, plumbing, duct cleaning, and insulation services Central Iowans prefer. We hold ourselves to a high standard and take pride in what we do.

Let us help you stay safe and comfortable indoors. From installation and repair to maintenance and more, it’s easy to see why Service Legends is Des Moines’ top residential HVAC contractor. It’s safe to say we’ve earned a Ph.D. in keeping you comfy. We’re waiting to hear from you – reach out today!

515-657-6634Request Appointment Online