Easy Ways to Re-Light a Home 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 an icy rain greets you instead, you know something’s amiss. The typical reason behind this uncomfortable, chilly surprise is a water heater pilot light that’s gone out.

Don’t worry—relighting a water heater pilot doesn’t require specialized skills. Follow the easy, step-by-step plan from the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing listed below, and you’ll soon be back to enjoying those hot showers.

Ways You Can Easily Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

First, read the user’s manual specific to your water heater model. Instructions will change depending on the model, and you should find all the details you need in the manual. If you don’t have the original copy that came with the installation, look up the model number online to pull up a digital version. Still, the following steps should apply for many gas water heaters:

  1. Look for the gas shut-off valve, which generally is clearly marked on the lower front part of your water heater. Move this knob to the “Off” position and wait for five to 10 minutes to enable any remaining gas to dissipate.
  2. Open the pilot light access cover or door, which is commonly positioned under the gas valve. Sometimes, there isn’t a door; instead, you may see the pilot light burner if you look in a small opening.
  3. Arm yourself with a flashlight or headlamp. After that, peer into the pilot light access and locate two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Monitor this area as you continue with lighting the water heater pilot.
  4. Turn the gas knob to “Pilot.” This action 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. Ignite the pilot light while still holding down the gas knob or button. The water heater could have an igniter button, typically red or black. If not, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot by hand.
  6. Hold down the gas knob or button for approximately 30 to 60 seconds after the flame sparks. Make sure the flame remains lit. 
  7. Switch the gas knob to “On.” You should hear a whump or whoosh sound as the main burner fires up and your water heater comes back to life.
  8. Place the door or access cover back on the unit. Give your water heater approximately 20 to 60 minutes to reheat the water, and you’ll be all set to enjoy that hot shower!

My Home’s Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit?

Needing to relight the pilot every now and then is usually not a major cause for concern. However, there could be a more severe underlying issue if the water heater pilot light refuses to stay lit. Some typical causes of this are:

  • Damaged thermocouple: The thermocouple is an automatic safety shut-off, shutting off gas flow when the pilot light is not lit. If this element is misaligned, dirty or damaged, you may face frequent pilot light issues. Reposition the thermocouple just a tiny bit and try lighting the pilot once more. If that doesn’t get the job done, you could possibly need to clean it. And if that proves fruitless, it might be necessary to replace the thermocouple, an easy task for a trained technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light produces 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: Problems with this component could lead to an inadequate gas supply needed to maintain the pilot light. If multiple gas appliances in your dwelling have similar challenges, examine the regulator.
  • Gusty conditions: Water heaters commonly share a utility closet with the furnace, which needs fresh air to work properly. Strong drafts from this air intake can blow out the 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 trouble with your water heater pilot light in the U.S., contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, reliable remedies to all your comfort worries. Everything we do is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not thrilled with our work, we’ll work to fix it. We are leaders in innovation and customer support, with deep community involvement that is a reflection of 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 big difference in your life, one hot shower at a time. 

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