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Question DetailsAsked on 10/26/2013

pilot lit on gas furnace, but the burners won't light

i have a gas furnace with a lit pilot, but the burners won't light

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6 Answers

Voted Best Answer

If you recently lit the pilot check to make sure the control knob is in the "ON" position and not on the "PILOT". The burners will not lit unless this knob is in the on position.

One other thing to check is the service switch and make sure this is in the on position. The service switch looks like a regular light switch and may have a silver box connected to it or near it. This switch shuts the furnace off for servicing. If it is off turn it on.

It could also be your thermostat. It might be defective. If it runs on batteries, change the batteries. Remember to turn the thermostat above room temperature to turn on the furnace.

Also check the breaker in the electrical panel. It might be tripped. To tell if a breaker has tripped look at the levers on the breakers. If one is out of place or in the middle it will need to be reset. To reset a breaker move the lever completly off and then back to the on position. You should hear it click. Always us caution when opening the cover of an electrical panel.

Hope this helps


Answered 7 years ago by Homefront Inspection


By far the most likely cause if you have a standing pilot (pilot on all the time) - is the thermocouple has died. It is a little probe that sticks into the pilot flame, and has a copper tube (or sometimes wire) back to the gas controller - if the thermocouple does not sense the heat of the pilot it prevents the gas controller from turning on the burners. A dead thermocouple reads as a pilot light blown out but will not always cause the pilot light to go out, though it should, but does not always, particularly on older models. Typically about $75-125 labor to replace plus about $10 for the part. Could be dead due to corrosion, internal flaw, or got kinked so it does not work.

Could also be thermocouple is not properly in the flame (about the tip half or 3/4 inch should be in the blue part of the pilot flame), or rust may have fallen on the pilot and be blocking the flame from heating the pilot enough.

Another possibility is a bad gas controller, bad thermostat (either furnace thermostat or household), or a problem in the electrical controller like a stuck relay, or a backup hydrostat (safety thermostat clamped onto the outgoing hot water pipe, if huydronic system) that is telling the furnace it is too hot, whether or not that is true.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


I have a furnace with a protection device called a microtemp. It shuts the system down if it gets too hot. The part was located on inside cover very close to the flames.

My furnace had lots of orange flames and the microtemp did the job and shut down my furnace. To test if this part is defective or burned up, bypass it. To bypass, unplug the leads to the microtemp and use a jumper to connect the 2 leads. If the furnace starts up, then the microtemp needs to be repalced. Its was a $10 part for me.

But the bigger question is why did the microtemp shut down your furnace. If its getting too hot then you should call a pro. It could be clogged chimmney, broken damper or something worse.

Answered 5 years ago by robobrien


I hv gas furnace we turn thermosate on upstairs but still wont turn on coud turn on pilot by myself

Answered 5 years ago by bussing57


it could be the filter we never knew that are gas furnace had a air filter and it would not start and we been living in are house for about 8 years

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9582785



I had this problem with my 30 year old furnace with the pilot light light and no heat to the house as the main gas burners did not kick on, I replaced the thermocouple and problem solved.

easy fix, $10 part and changed it myself. (Look on Youtube to find out how to change out the old thermocouple)

Answered 4 years ago by bill1234567890111213


I had an electrician check all wiring and all is good. What else can it be?

Answered 2 years ago by domskids4

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