How to Re-Light Your Water Heater Pilot Light

When you step into the shower, you count on the water to get nice and hot within a few seconds. If a freezing rain greets you instead, you know something’s wrong. The typical offender behind this nasty, chilly surprise is a water heater pilot light that’s gone out.

Don’t worry—relighting the pilot doesn’t require an engineering degree. Follow the easy, step-by-step process from the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing listed below, and you’ll soon be back to taking advantage of those hot showers.

Ways You Can Easily Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

First things first, read the user’s manual that goes with your water heater model. Instructions vary, and you should find all the details you need in the manual. If you’ve misplaced the original copy that came with the unit, look up the model number online to locate a digital version. However, the following steps should apply for most gas water heaters:

  1. Look for the gas shut-off valve, which generally is plainly marked on the lower front part of your water heater. Turn this knob to the “Off” position and wait for five to 10 minutes to enable any lingering gas to dissipate.
  2. Open the pilot light access cover or door, which is usually found beneath the gas valve. On occasion, there isn’t a door; instead, you could possibly see the pilot light burner through a small opening.
  3. Arm yourself with a flashlight or headlamp. Then, peer into the pilot light access and look for two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Keep an eye on this area as you go ahead with lighting the water heater pilot.
  4. Switch the gas knob to “Pilot.” This move lets the gas flow, prepping the pilot light for ignition. Some units have a designated red button for pilot mode, which you should press and hold.
  5. Relight the pilot light while still holding down the gas knob or button. Your home’s water heater could have an igniter button, often red or black. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot by hand.
  6. Hold down the gas knob or button for roughly 30 to 60 seconds after the flame catches. Ensure the flame stays lit. 
  7. Turn the gas knob to “On.” You should hear a whump or whoosh sound as the main burner lights and your water heater sparks back to life.
  8. Replace the access cover or door. Give your water heater roughly 20 to 60 minutes to reheat the water, and you’ll be all set to enjoy that hot shower!

a Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit?

Needing to relight the pilot every once in a while is not a cause for concern. Unfortunately, there could be a more serious underlying issue if the water heater pilot light won’t stay lit. Some frequent causes of this are:

  • Damaged thermocouple: The thermocouple is an automatic safety shut-off, stopping gas flow when the pilot light is out. If this component is misaligned, dirty or damaged, you may face frequent pilot light issues. Reposition the thermocouple slightly and try lighting the pilot once more. If that doesn’t do the trick, you could possibly need to clean it. And if that proves ineffective, it could be necessary to replace the thermocouple, a very basic task for a professional technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light has a yellow flame, it’s likely due to a dirty pilot opening. This can inhibit the thermocouple’s functioning, leading to pilot light instability.
  • Weak or defective gas regulator: Trouble with this component might lead to an inadequate gas supply needed to maintain the pilot light. If more than one of the gas appliances in your home have similar issues, examine the regulator.
  • Gusty conditions: Water heaters commonly share a utility closet with the furnace, which needs fresh air to work properly. Powerful drafts from this air intake can extinguish your pilot light.

Congrats, Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light is Lit. Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Keep it That Way!

If you’re still having issues with your water heater pilot light in the U.S., don’t hesitate to call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective remedies to all your comfort troubles. Everything we do is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not thrilled with our services, we’ll work to resolve it. We are leaders in innovation and customer support, with rich community involvement that demonstrates our commitment to your comfort. Call 866-397-3787 today to reach the skilled staff at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’re ready to make a major difference in your life, one hot shower at a time. 

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