How To Light a Pilot LightLast updated on 10/18/2023
If you're having trouble starting your cooking equipment, it may be due to an extinguished pilot light. A pilot light is a small natural gas burner that stays continuously lit so you can ignite a flame for your larger burner. With these instructions, you can learn how to light a pilot for several types of equipment in your restaurant.
Tips for Lighting a Pilot Light
Pilot lights can go out fairly often in busy commercial kitchens. A breeze may extinguish the flame, especially in high-traffic environments or near frequently used doors. If all pilot lights are out on your equipment, turn on your ventilation hoods, check your gas line, and vent the area. If you smell a strong gas odor or suspect you have a gas leak, contact your gas provider immediately. Do not light a flame or turn on an electric switch until you address the problem.
How to Light Range Tops
Gas constantly comes out of your pilot on a range top, so igniting the pilot light can be done with only a lighter. The pilot is located within the burner, so locate the pilot head and hold a long butane lighter to it to ignite the pilot flame. If this fails, check to see if the pilot is clean by following these steps:
- Turn off your range and double-check to ensure no gas is flowing.
- Remove and clean any grates or parts blocking the pilot. Reference your manual for specific instructions on how to do this.
- Once you find the pilot port, clean the area with a clean microfiber cloth.
- Use a lighter to ignite the pilot light. A small blue flame will appear when it's lit.
- Reassemble your stove according to your manual's instructions.
How to Light a Standard Oven
Some gas ovens, especially older ones, require you to light them manually. However, it's a safe, simple process with only a few steps.
- Set the thermostat to the "off" position and wait 5 minutes before attempting to relight the pilot.
- Hold down the red button on the gas safety valve to release gas.
- Light pilot by pushing the red ignitor button. You may need to press it more than once.
- Continue pressing the igniter button until the pilot stays lit. If the pilot won’t ignite, you may need to continue holding the gas safety valve button to expel all oxygen from the system.
How to Light Fryers
Gas fryers also have a pilot light, so use the following steps to turn your pilot on and off.
- Turn the fryer off. Turn the gas safety valve knob to “pilot.”
- Hold the gas safety valve knob in for about 30 seconds to purge oxygen from the line.
- While holding in the gas safety valve knob, light the pilot. Locate the pilot head and hold a long butane lighter or match to it to ignite the pilot flame.
- Turn the gas safety valve knob to “on.”
- To turn the pilot off, turn the fryer off, and turn the pilot knob to "off."
Lighting a pilot is a simple process, and these techniques apply to a broad spectrum of gas cooking equipment. However, for a more thorough understanding of the correct procedure to follow for your specific unit, refer to the owner's manual before taking any other steps. It provides clarification and additional instruction specific to your equipment, reducing the potential for errors.