Do Electric Furnaces Have Pilot Lights?

Electric furnaces use electric igniters that can be activated with the press of a button or by turning on electric heaters and thermostats in the home’s duct system. These ignition systems differ from traditional pilot lights used in older model gas furnaces.

Electric furnaces do not use pilot lights but rely upon electrical current for their ignition source. This is typically done by either pressing buttons or turning on other appliances within your house.

Read on to discover the difference between electric igniters and pilot lights and how each operates. Additionally, we will discuss some of the procedures to follow if your pilot light or igniter goes out and needs to be relit. 

Electric furnaces don’t use pilot lights. In addition, they do not rely on natural gas or propane to power the burners like in a regular furnace. They instead rely on electricity and electric resistance heaters to warm up the interior of your home’s air ducts.

The electric resistance heaters then produce hot air that flows through metal tubes (which is how they have an efficiency rating) and into your home’s heating system. Heating systems will typically use either baseboard radiators or convectors hanging from ceilings throughout various rooms in the house.

The electric igniter can be activated by pressing a button or by turning on electric heaters and thermostats in your home. This will automatically send an electric circuit to energize the electric furnace’s ignition wire once turned on. 

What Is A Pilot Light, And What Does It Do?

A pilot light is a low-pressure gas flame that lights the furnace and keeps it going. The pilot light works by sending natural gas or propane through metal tubes, which heats an ignition wire to set off a spark inside the electrical box on your electric furnace. 

The pilot light can also be lit manually with either matches or butane lighters. You should always be aware of what you are doing and read all instructions on your equipment for safety reasons before starting any work near a gas furnace or electric heating system. 

How Can I Tell If My Furnace Has A Pilot Light?

You can tell your furnace has a pilot light by looking for the electric ignition box and checking if it has an electric spark or not. If you feel unsure, then turn off your furnace at the breaker first. This will help prevent any accidents that may happen due to trying to operate electrical equipment without power. 

After turning off the power, check again if another wire system is present to ignite gas from outside the home (such as on an exterior wall). If you still can’t find anything, then call out a professional electrician who should be able to assist with identifying whether or not your furnace has a pilot light.

What Happens When My Pilot Light Goes Out?

When the pilot light goes out, it is typically due to pilot gas running low or depleted. If the pilot light goes out, it is essential to contact a professional electrician as soon as possible. 

In electric furnaces, your lights are powered by electricity, and the electronic ignition module triggers them when you want to use your electric furnace. If there’s an outage, they’ll stay lit until power returns or the battery dies. 

If your pilot light goes out in a gas furnace, it may be for many reasons: 

  • Incorrect pilot height from the burner nozzle.
  • Improper adjustment of flame air shutter opening.
  • Supply voltage fluctuations caused by utility company power failures.
  • Dirty glass tube restrictor.

Pilot lights may go out for any of these or other reasons, so it’s essential to ensure your furnace has been properly serviced every year.

When your pilot light on an electric furnace goes out, this is typically due to either low levels of gas in the system or depleted fuel lines. Often, these issues are easily fixed by calling for help from someone else (such as an electrician).

Why And When Did Furnaces Stop Using Pilot Lights?

Pilot lights are no longer used in electric furnaces because electric igniters make it easier to light a pilot. When the electric furnace was introduced, this made it so that people did not have to constantly be checking on their pilot and relighting them as often. So long story short – electric furnaces make life a little bit simpler!

Newer gas furnaces produced after 2010 have begun using electronic ignition systems over conventional pilot lights. 

What Do I Need For My Home’s Electrical Systems If We Have An Electric Furnace?

The electric furnace does not need a pilot light, but it does require electric power. Therefore, the wiring should be inspected every three years by an electrician (or someone who is qualified in electricity) to ensure that there are no hazards or faulty connections.

What Is An Electronic Ignition In A Furnace?

Electronic ignitions word much like the filament in a light bulb. Electronic igniters heat when electricity is passed through them, and in newer gas furnaces, it is placed in the flow of gas entering the chamber. Electronic ignitors are often made from silicon nitride or silicon carbide. 

Benefits Of Using An Electronic Ignition Over A Conventional Pilot Light

A handful of benefits come with electronic ignition over the conventional pilot light seen in older gas furnaces. The benefits of using electronic ignitions over a pilot light include:

  • Electric furnaces do not require a pilot light heat or flame to heat your home. Instead, electric igniters produce an electric current, much safer than the traditional method.
  • Electric furnaces produce a warm room with no drafts or cold spots.  
  • The electric furnace can be more energy-efficient than a gas furnace, which reduces cost and the need for as many repairs to the system.

Electronic Ignitions give you a more accessible alternative to lighting your furnace and offer many more energy-efficient features than furnaces with traditional pilot lights. 

Can You Manually Light An Electric Furnace?

An electric furnace has an ignition system, which can be lit manually or automatically by sensing heat from other appliances in use nearby (like a clothes dryer).

However, manual lighting is not advisable because of the risks of electrocution. It is best to call in a professional electrician to light your electric furnace.

How To Light The Pilot Light On My Electric Furnace?

To light the pilot on your electric furnace manually, do the following:

  • First, turn off electric power at your electric panel. 
  • Use a long-handled lighter to ignite the pilot. 
  • Wait five minutes after ignition before turning on the electric furnace and setting the thermostat.

Lighting an electric furnace manually without the help of a professional can result in an increased chance of electrocution. 


You may have noticed that most homes nowadays are using electric furnaces. This is because they don’t rely on natural gas or propane to power the burners like in a regular furnace, and it helps them conserve energy by not having pilot lights lit up all day long. 

Whether it’s for heating purposes year-round or just keeping warm during winter months, an electric furnace will keep your house warm without the worry of explosion hazards.

However, remember to be safe when lighting one yourself with proper electrical installation guidelines from professionals.