How do I Light the Pilot Light on my Gas Range?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Lighting the pilot light on a gas stove is a fairly simple process, but working with gas can be dangerous so you should exercise caution and contact your local gas company if you notice a very strong gas odor. A slight odor, however, is normal if you have a pilot light that has gone out.

Many people prefer to use long matches for lighting pilots.
Many people prefer to use long matches for lighting pilots.

To save yourself some trouble and frustration, you may want to clean the tip of the pilot if the light has gone out. Sometimes, grease and food particles can become trapped in the tip, causing the flame to go out. By cleaning it, you make the light easier to ignite and improve the chances that it will stay lit.

Take care when lighting the pilot on a gas stove, especially if you smell gas in the air.
Take care when lighting the pilot on a gas stove, especially if you smell gas in the air.

To clean the tip, shut off all of your stove controls. Next, lift the range top off or up, exposing your pilot lights to view. Remove the cap or cover on the one that is blown out and remove any debris. You can use a straight pin to clear the gas opening, and using a stiff brush and detergent, carefully scrub the tubes that lead from the burner to the pilot.

Once you are satisfied with your cleaning effort, you are ready to light your pilot. Make sure that you do not detect a heavy odor of gas in the air. If all is clear, hold a lit match over the gas hole. Many individuals prefer to use long matches for lighting pilots, as they allow you to keep your hand further away from the gas as you light it. Flames don’t shoot out in this type of situation, but it never hurts to be cautious.

Basically, you can light the oven pilot in the same way that you light the stove. You usually have to access it through the back of the oven, however, often through the broiler compartment. Once you can see the oven pilot, simply clean it and relight it using a long match.

If you have an electric gas stove, lighting your pilot light will be a bit different. If the burner on this type of stove won’t light, the problem could be caused by an impaired pilot electrode. To fix this problem, unplug your stove and clean the electrodes using a small brush, removing anything that is blocking the igniter. Sometimes, a cover blocks the electrode from reach, so remove any cover or bridge before you attempt to clean it.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


We have a gas stove with an electric light. The oven won't turn on. We are trying to find the oven electrodes to see if they need to be cleaned. It is an Amana. Do you know where to find it? We've had the stove for 14 years with no problems before.


I have a calor gas oven/grill on my boat, and the only identification of make is 6070 on the front. Any ideas on cleaning the oven burners? They are partially blocked, with a very low flame. -- Paul


@anon208403: Don't mess around with gas yourself. Call an appliance repair service and get someone out there who is experienced and knowledgeable about gas appliances. It's a different thing altogether from electric appliances, and requires a different set of skills and knowledge.

I'd also buy a carbon monoxide detector -- just in case.


There is a problem with my gas oven. There is fire. I can see the flame, and I smell the gas when I try to cook, but for some reason, it doesn't turn on.

The first time it happened was four days ago. Since then I haven't tried to do anything. Any ideas what it could be?


Thank you, thank you, thank you! I did this all on my own. Woo-hoo! I now have four rather than one functioning burners. Now, I just need a reason to use all four at once!


The white deposits around the pilot are called silica deposits and come from the gas. When the deposits build up and the pilot returns them it can produce an aldehyde odor.

Just blow out the pilot and use a tooth brush to clean off the pilot and white deposits. Relight the pilot and adjust the pilot to the minimum setting that will be a stable flame and ensure proper ignition.


Mom has a 25 year old Montgomery Wards gas range. After smelling a faint gas odor, gas company came out and inspected. They indicated the automatic pilot was leaking and turned off the gas. Is this repairable?


No. 5: Yes if you don't light the oven pilot gas will build up in your oven. This could cause it to explode at some point.

Nos. 4 and 3: Usually the ash is from small things like tiny pieces of food burning up (burning to ash). You usually don't notice this in general cooking and it usually isn't a problem, just be sure it doesn't clog any of your burners or pilot lights.

No. 2: A lot of older stove tops will stick. Weather from warping, or food and grease build up that have almost sealed the lid shut. Usually if you get down and try to spray some cleaner along were the top is sticking it will help. You may need to do this a few times and then let it sit.

Be sure to turn your gas off to the stove first. Some cleaning solutions have been know to catch on fire.

No. 1: see answers for 4 and 3.


the pilot light on my older LPG furnace lights and burns well, but when the main burner ignites the flame of the pilot, it slowly extends past the thermocouple and the main burner goes out.


Is there a way to improve the lighting of the newer gas stoves? My Mom's has had the igniter replaced 3 times in about 6 years. It's starting to act up again to where it's taking longer each time before it lights off. Surely someone has figured out a better way to do this.


I have a gas range and I had to have my gas turned off due to a gas leak. When the service was turned back on, about an hour later, the stove top would re-light but the stove would not. I used it in the morning so I know it works. The gas man turned on the oven and said no gas was going into the oven. Like I said though, the stove top works fine. Can anyone give me any ideas?


my electricity is out due to an ice storm. is it OK to light my gas stove with a match if it is normally electrically started?


I'm working on a 50's gas stove I just bought at a garage sale. The propane guys came and I watched them get the 4 burners going.... But they didn't understand pilot adjustments, I figured it out after they left. While here they shut off the gas just to the oven and broiler, and I wasn't here watching...ugh. I promised I'd wait for them to turn gas onto oven, etc. but I was lying.

Can someone tell me which nut valves they might have used to just turn off the oven and broiler???


I have a lp gas stove. 4 burner on top and oven under. If i only want use the top burners, do i still have to light the pilot for the oven to keep gas from escaping into oven?


There is a lot of white ash appearing around the pilot lights both on the stove top and in the oven. What could be causing that?


I have 40 year old gas range. There is a lot of white ash appearing around the pilot lights both on the stove top and in the oven. What could be causing that? posted by Kikyo

Does anyone have an answer?


I have an old amana gas range and the pilot light has gone out. I cannot seem to lift the range top up to get to the pilot. any suggestions how to lift it? or what might be the problem?


I have 40 year old gas range. There is a lot of white ash appearing around the pilot lights both on the stove top and in the oven. What could be causing that?

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