How to light a wall heater

Apparently you turn the black knob to "pilot," push it in for a while, stick a long-handled lighter in the hole, and hope it doesn't explode. 

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I'm wondering what the bill will be like. On the one hand, our apartment is tiny, but on the other, it's a pretty old-ass heater and nothing in this building is insulated well.

Update: If the pilot is on but adjusting the thermostat doesn't turn on the burners, rip off the cover and touch the wires together and/or fiddle with the thermoresist.