When people think of standard natural gas furnaces, they often think of the words pilot light. Standing pilot lights became part of gas furnaces back in the 1920s and marked a major improvement in using them at the time. Rather than having to manually light a furnace each time a house needed heat, people could instead turn the furnace on and the standing pilot was at the ready to ignite the gas burners.
Does the furnace you currently have in your house use a standing pilot light? We’d wager the answer is no. In fact, it’s almost certainly no if your furnace is less than eleven years old. Standing pilot lights started to disappear in the 1980s, and now you’ll mostly find them used on commercial equipment and not in residential heating systems, such as gas furnaces and stoves. What happened to the pilot light? And what has replaced it?