How to Light Your Natural Gas Wall Heater’s Pilot Light and Restore Your Heating Service

If you live in a small home or apartment that has a natural gas wall heater that has been turned off all summer, then use this simple procedure to get the pilot light lit and to restore your home's heating service.

Step 1: Clean the Wall Heater's Vented Protective Cover

Before you light the wall heater's pilot light, first the inside and outside of the heater need to be thoroughly cleaned and dusted.

To ensure proper airflow, the metal covering on the outside of the heater needs to have all of its vents cleaned. The easiest way to do this is to take it off and clean it off outside with your garden hose. To take the cover off, simply lift up on it and then pull it towards you. 

Before reinstalling the cover, make sure you either let it dry in the sun or dry it with a towel.

Step 2: Clean the Inside of the Wall Heater

With the protective cover removed, it is easy to see all of the dust, dirt, and pet hair that has accumulated inside of your wall heater as it sat unused all summer. Removing the contamination is necessary to increase the air quality in your home as well as to prevent your heater from giving off a burning smell when it heats up.

You can wipe down each surface in the heater, or you can use a vacuum or wet-dry vacuum to carefully clean it. As you clean, be mindful of any areas with wiring that could be damaged if you aren't careful.

Step 3: Light the Pilot Light

In order for the wall heater to work, it needs to have a lit pilot light. Thankfully, lighting a pilot light on this type of heater is simple to do. However, if you are fearful of lighting it yourself, you can always call your natural gas utility provider, and often they will come to your home and light it for you for free.

To light the pilot light yourself, follow each step below in order:

  1. Turn on the gas by opening up the shut-off valve
  2. Turn the selector dial until it reads "pilot"
  3. Locate the pilot light vent's location
  4. Push the selector dial in to produce a small flow of gas
  5. Light the pilot light vent using a long match or a long-barrel lighter

If you don't have any long matches or a long-barrel lighter, then you can use a twig or even a piece of spaghetti. Spaghetti works very well because it will burn slowly without a large flame.

Step 4: Turn On Your Thermostat and Test the Heater

Finally, once the pilot light is lit, then you can turn on the heater and test to make sure it is working. To make it come on, move the thermostat to a warmer temperature.

Finally, if for some reason the wall heater doesn't fire up, then turn off the pilot light by turning off the gas supply and call a licensed heating service to assist you.