I was trying to light my pilot and was having difficulty. The steps I followed.

  1. Turn on gas
  2. Turned pilot button from "off" to "pilot"
  3. Pushed in pilot button
  4. Pushed ignitor every second
  5. Nothing happened

I tried it again - same steps as above - Again nothing happened. I then moved the pilot button from "pilot" to "on" and the fireplace started up.

Now my questions

  1. I believe the fireplace should have started when the pilot switch was on "pilot" and pilot button pushed in - is that correct?
  2. Should I have a professional look at my system?


  • You expected the fireplace burner to ignite when you lit the pilot? Why? The pilot is a little candle flame adjacent to the main burner. Sounds like everything worked as it should.
    – isherwood
    Apr 9, 2019 at 13:35
  • Great Point - I was not thinking about it right - thanks Apr 12, 2019 at 11:32
  • John, you might take the tour to learn what's expected of you when you post. If the question turned out to be invalid, please delete the post.
    – isherwood
    Apr 12, 2019 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


There are two types of systems (I'll call them old and new) that I have seen when it comes to pilot lights. In newer systems (sounds like what you have) you must press the valve knob or a separate pilot button to bypass a safety valve and allow enough gas to come out to light the pilot. Once the pilot is lit, the flame heats up a thermocouple that allows the main gas valve to open. Once all that happens, you can turn the valve fully on and light the main burner. The idea is if the flame goes out (thermocouple isn't heated), the gas is completely cut off to avoid leaks.

On older style valves, you just turn the gas all the way on and light the burner. When you are done, you can turn it all the way down to pilot and only the pilot remains lit so you can easily light it next time. If the pilot blows out, you're leaking a small amount of gas (not good).

So, based on those two descriptions, do you still think that something is wrong? Your description doesn't seem to really match either of those exactly, so something could be wrong with your valve. At the very least, the safety valve that cuts off gas flow if the flame blows out could be faulty. Today that's considered a problem, but years ago it was normal - again depends on the valve design. I would have someone look at it just to make sure nothing else is wrong. Gas is pretty deadly.

Try to light it again with the above description in mind, and if it still doesn't seem right, have it looked at.

  • Really appreciate the background you provided - I have a much better understanding Apr 12, 2019 at 11:35

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