Texas Gas Service turned off our gas for the weekend. We just got it turned back on, and the stove and oven will both light -- but the pilot lights won't.

They worked fine before Friday. Obviously this has something to do with the fact that they turned off our gas temporarily. How do I repair the pilot lights?

  • Are they electronic ignition? Can you describe the steps taken to relight the pilots?
    – BMitch
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 20:41
  • They are not. It's an older appliance. Once the gas is turned on, we were able to light the burners with a lighter, but not the pilot lights. There just doesn't appear to be any gas flow to them at all -- nor to the one for the oven, even when we push the oven knob.
    – Translunar
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:04

4 Answers 4


Why did they turn off the gas? To do some work? If that is the case then there is probably air in the line. The pilot orifice is small compared to the burners which means it will take longer for the air to "bleed out".

Alternatively, there may be a button somewhere that you have to hold down (to get the gas flowing to the pilots) in order to light the pilots to light. Once lit you usually have to hold this "button" down for 10 to 20 seconds. Have you ever lit a non-electronic water heater? Same thing here.

Where I live, if the gas gets shut off for any reason (non-payment of bill, work in the street on the main) the gas company must (for safety reasons) come into your house to relight any appliance with a pilot.

  • They turned off the gas because we had a corrugated gas pipe going through a wall elsewhere in the house. It wasn't related to the oven. I tried pushing in all the buttons for a good forty seconds, but no luck.
    – Translunar
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 23:19
  • @mohawkjohn I think Gunner's answer is pointing you in the right direction. Manual pilot lights have a spring loaded switch that needs to be held to send gas to the pilot light. Once lit, it will heat up the thermocouple and you can release the switch. Check your manual to find out where the switch is. If the thermocouple itself was bad, as blb suggests, then it would go out after releasing the switch.
    – BMitch
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 2:24
  • It took a while, but I found the manual on Whirlpool's website. There's no thermocouple, as far as I can tell -- looks like the gas company turned off the pilot light valves for some reason, who knows why. So I was able to fix the stove, at least. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to turn the oven pilot light back on -- the directions are totally unclear.
    – Translunar
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 5:55
  • @mohawkjohn With no thermocouple, if they left the pilot light valves open, the home would fill with unburned gas after they turn the main back on. Therefore, it makes good business sense for them to turn those valves off to avoid killing their customers.
    – BMitch
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 13:49
  • It's either air in the line, or crud/dust in the line has clogged up the pilot orifice. Either it'll correct itself after a couple hrs, or you'll have to clean out the pilot orifice.
    – Bob
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 14:35

There are a few things that can happen when a gas line is shut off for maintenance, that might cause a pilot not to relight when the gas is turned back on.

Air in the line

If the pipe is cut; and/or replaced, there can be air in the line. To remedy this, you'll simply have to bleed off the air by opening a valve until all the air is released.

Junk in the line

Sometimes during maintenance, small particles can become dislodged. These particles can be carried by the gas down the line. Because the orifices tend to be very small, they can easily become blocked by this debris. To fix this you'll have to remove, and clean the orifices. A drip leg near each outlet will diminish the chances of this occurring, but may not completely eliminate the possibility.

Closed valves

When working on gas lines, valves at each fixture/outlet may be closed along with the main valve. In this case, you'll have to locate each valve and open it.


There are some gas systems that require heat on a key point (usually provided by a lit pilot) before a valve will open to allow gas to flow. It may be that your pilot system needs a flame trained on a key area to open the valve to the pilot itself.

HOWEVER, this is a safety feature and, if you are not certain about what is causing the problem, you should have the gas company or a knowledgable plumber rectify the problem.


I had the same experience--at least with the burner pilots--and I discovered that the problem was due to air in both pilot lines. By loosening the screw which is at the base of the dual lines, I increased the flow of gas which bled out both lines. Then, I lit the pilots, I tightened the screw to bring the flame level down to what it had been previously. Initially, take note of the position of the screw slot. Then you can easily return the flame back to its original level.

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