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Dealing with a pilot light is common if you have a gas water heater. Do you know how to light the pilot light on your water heater? It can be easy but may also indicate a problem with your water heater.

The Importance of Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light

The pilot light is vital for gas water heaters. Without it, you’ll be without hot water, and most people do not know how to safely turn on a water heater pilot. Read on to learn how to turn on your water heater’s pilot light. 

How To Light Pilot Light on Water Heaters

Resetting your pilot light isn’t hard, but there are several things to consider. One of the first things you need to determine what type of water heater you have – manual or automatic.

You will need to access your water heater and find the large dial that says, “Pilot.”

Automatic Water Heaters

If you see a button near the word pilot, it’s an automatic water heater. You need to turn off the gas and wait for it to dissipate to reset it. Hold down the pilot light for approximately 30 seconds with the temperature set too low. Use a lighter or a match to light it.

Manual Water Heater

If there is no button, you have a manual water heater. Complete the same steps, then press and hold the ignition button. You will not need a lighter or matches.

Electric water heaters are different. You do not need to know how to reset the pilot light on electric water heaters. They don’t have one, so getting cold water from an electric water heater, will mean that you have other problems.

Once you feel confident that the pilot light will stay lit, turn the water heater temperature back up. When it kicks on, listen for the main burner lighting. This will sound like a “whoosh.” If you don’t hear the whoosh or go back out, you may not have enough gas going into the water heater. You will need to check for other issues.

Common Water Heater Pilot Light Problems

The pilot light going out once is not uncommon. It happens with natural changes in gas pressure. If it happens repeatedly, there are several things that you may need to consider. It may be caused by:

  • Unclean Pilot Tubes: Dust and debris can clog the pilot light tube, restricting gas flow. The only way to repair it is to clean the tube.
  • Thermocouple Issues: The thermocouple prevents gas leaks. It shuts down the gas if it senses that the pilot light is off. Dirt or damage on it can cause it to misread the pilot light. The fix is to clean and/or repair it.
  • Faulty Flex Tubes: The flex tube allows the gas to get to your water heater’s burner. If it’s kinked, it can cause gas leaks and improper water heating. Repairing means finding out why it’s kinked and, in some circumstances, replacing it.
  • Faulty Main Control Valve: This is the hardest to repair but rarely the problem. It requires a professional to help or maybe getting a new water heater.

Why Consider Hiring a Professional

Anytime you are dealing with gas and pilot lights, it’s dangerous. Gas leaks are bad. If you are unsure how to restart the pilot light, asking for help will ensure you’re safe.

Rooter Man would be happy to look at your pilot light to discover what is happening. We help you with any plumbing issues in and around the New Orleans area. Simply contact us, and someone will be there soon.

Image Source: Charles Knowles / Shutterstock

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