Easy Ways to Re-Light Your Water Heater Pilot Light

When you step into the shower, you expect the water to get nice and hot fast. If an icy shower greets you instead, you know something’s amiss. The typical root cause behind this unpleasant, cold 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 plan from the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing outlined below, and you’ll soon be back to enjoying those hot showers.

Ways You Can Easily Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

To start out, read the user’s manual specific to your water heater model. Instructions differ from brand to brand, and you should find everything you need in the manual. If you’ve misplaced the printed copy that came with the water heater, look up the model number online to pull up a digital version. Still, the following steps should apply for most gas water heaters:

  1. Find the gas shut-off valve, which typically is plainly marked on the lower front part of your water heater. Switch 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 commonly positioned under the gas valve. Occasionally, there isn’t a door; instead, you could possibly see the pilot light burner through a small opening.
  3. Find a flashlight or headlamp. Then, peer into the pilot light access and locate two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Monitor this area as you go ahead with lighting the water heater pilot.
  4. Move the gas knob to “Pilot.” This movement lets the gas flow, preparing the pilot light for ignition. Some units have a specified red button for pilot mode, which you should press and hold.
  5. Light the pilot light while still holding down the gas knob or button. Your water heater could have an igniter button, often red or black. If your water heater does not, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot manually.
  6. Hold down the gas knob or button for roughly 30 to 60 seconds after the flame ignites. Ensure the flame is staying 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. Place the door or access cover back on the unit. Give your water heater approximately 20 to 60 minutes to warm the water, and you’ll be able to enjoy that hot shower!

a Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit?

Needing to relight the pilot from time to time is usually not a major cause for concern. But, there could be a bigger underlying issue if the water heater pilot light refuses to stay lit. Some common factors that cause this problem are:

  • Dirty thermocouple: The thermocouple is an automatic safety shut-off, preventing gas flow when the pilot light isn’t on. If this feature is misaligned, dirty or damaged, you may face frequent pilot light issues. Reposition the thermocouple a little bit and try lighting the pilot again. If that doesn’t get the job done, you could possibly need to clean it. And if that proves unproductive, it could be necessary to replace the thermocouple, a simple task for a licensed technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light has a yellow flame, it’s likely due to a dirty pilot opening. This can hinder the thermocouple’s functioning, leading to pilot light instability.
  • Weak or defective gas regulator: Trouble with this component may lead to an inadequate gas supply needed to maintain the pilot light. If more than one of the gas appliances in your dwelling have similar issues, check the regulator.
  • Gusty conditions: Water heaters commonly share a utility closet with the furnace, which demands fresh air to function properly. Strong drafts from this air intake can snuff out a water heater pilot light.

Got the Pilot Light Lit? Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Keep it That Way!

If you’re still having difficulty with your water heater pilot light in the U.S., contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective cures to all your comfort worries. Everything we do is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not delighted with our services, we’ll work to make it right. We are leaders in innovation and customer engagement, with rich community involvement that is a reflection of our commitment to your comfort. Call 866-397-3787 today to reach the professional staff at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’re standing by to make a big difference in your life, one hot shower at a time. 

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