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Leave it to me. . . I always have questions!

Can I light the pilot myself on a gas furnace? Do I need to call someone? I'm afraid to mess with that stuff. I'm afraid that gas builds up in there, or I'm not lighting the right place. . .
Hey Cat,

You really shouldn't have a problem lighting the pilot light. If you know where it is, then the process should be easy. Gas shouldn't build up as most furnaces are designed now days to stop the gas if the light goes out. However, if you're worried, make sure the gas is turned off, open a window, and let the room air out a few minutes.

Turn the gas back on to the furnace. I will probably have a knob or switch to press for lighting it, with a setting just for lighting (they are all slightly different, but similar). In the case of the one with the button, have a match or a small lighter lit, push or set the button to the lighting position, and using the match or lighter, light the pilot tube. Turn the knob to the run or auto setting and you should be finished.

If anyone else knows a better way to handle this, please chime in.
This sounded right to me. I was a big wussy and had my father come over to do it though when I had my condo.
You got it. I'll add though when you turn the knob to the "pilot" position, you hold it down for at least thirty seconds if not longer. If you let up on the knob and the flame goes out, try it again until it stays lit when you let off of the knob. Then turn it to the "on" position. The heat is ready. You may need to change the filter, too.
Thanks Ubu. That's the part I left out.
Three more little notes about pilot lights.
1. Every one wonders why they have to keep that button pushed down. Here is the reason. There is a little strip of metal that curls up above the pilot light. It's called a bi-metal valve. When cold, it closes the gas to the pilot light so gas does not build up. When the pilot is lit, heat from the flame makes the metal curl because it is a laminate of two different kinds of metal that expand at different rates. Holding the button down makes the metal valve stay open long enough for the flame of the pilot light to heat the thing up and keep it open. If the flame goes out, the metal cools and closes the gas line to the pilot light. The small pilot lights on stove top ranges don't bother with bi-metal valves. You just light them. If they go out, very little gas escapes. And the gas has a very strong oderizer in it so you can smell even a tiny amount that escapes.
2. Sometimes pilot lights are hard to reach. I made a short "match extension" by putting a little alligator clip on the end of a piece of coat hanger wire to hold the lit match. I just keep the wire next to the furnace for the next time. You could scotch tape the match to the extender. It could be as simple as taped to a pencil.
3. Modern furnaces and kitchen ranges don't use pilot lights at all. They have little built in spark generators. The ones on new outdoor grills operate by snapping a button, but on kitchen stoves and furnaces they are electric and operate when you turn on the gas. These are much favored by the gas companies, because if the gas company ever looses pressure on the line for any reason, it is their responsibility and massive cost to go to everyone's house and relight the pilots. (At least for those people who don't know how and have not read this thread.)
Anyone else have one of those annoying little household questions they would like answered? Here is your opportunity.
I am patching walls to repaint. What is the best thing to use to sand it down to leave the wall even and smooth? In a couple places I impressed myself in others....yuck, do not want to cover with paint....needs help and am doing it myself.
Sanding blocks work pretty well. What are you using to patch the walls? You may need to apply two or more coats of patching material. It depends on how bad a spot it is.
Ubu is right. It greatly depends on how big the hole is. I know techniques for everything from football size holes to just little nicks. Give us some rough dementions, and I'll try to help.
Oh, why wait. I'll just describe several type holes.
For just little dings that don't go all the way through the wallboard or maybe just have a small penetration of a half inch or so, just get some spackling compound and fill the hole with a putty knife or cake icing spreader. Then drag a flat bladed tool like a school triangle or anything that you can use to pull the flat edge on either side of the hole, down the damp spackling compound to make a smooth even surface with the rest of the wall.
Let it dry. If it is not a large hole, and not much spackling was used it should dry flat. If not, it will shrink and leave a depression. Just repeat the process and let dry. It should be very flat and even, but you can use some very fine sandpaper to smooth it even more. Once painted you shouldn't see it.
For a large hole, you will need to add some kind of backing for the spackle to seat itself against. I've used everything from scrap pieces of wallboard, to stiff cardboard. It makes no difference as long as it is stiff. you cut the backing in about the same shape, but an inch or two bigger in all directions. Then you have to mount it behind the hole. You can use some glue around the edge. In order to get the backing to stay in place, put a small hole like a nail hole, through the middle of the backing, and put a piece of string through the hole with a knot in the back to keep the string in place. Then work the whole backing board through the hole and use the string to pull it forward so that the glued edges stick to the back of the wallboard around the hole. Let that dry in place.
Now all you have to do is fill the half inch deep hole however wide it is. I would use another smaller piece of wall board cut to the shape of the hole but just maybe 1/4 inch smaller. Put some glue on the back of that and glue it to the back board after cutting the string off in place. Like gluing in a jigsaw puzzle piece.
Now all you have is a quarter inch gap running around the original hole. just fill that with spackling compound as described above for small holes, sand it lightly after it drys and you should not now be able to tell it was ever a hole there after paint is applied.
Good on you for doing it your self. It's not hard and you will be proud of your self and save a lot of bucks. A hardware or Home Depot may even just give you a piece of scrap wallboard to use. I know, that Home Depot and Lowes have a premade backing, that looks like a mesh screen that you can use for jobs up to about one foot. But it works no better than my "On the cheap" version.




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