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Is the water in your home cold when you know you have waited long enough for the heat to do its job? The problem may be something as simple as your pilot light has gone out. You can resolve this issue on your own if you want to save money and headaches. Rooter Man is here to help you discover how to turn on water heaters if they have gone out.

What Is A Pilot Light?

The pilot light is a continually burning flame. It is responsible for igniting the burner of your gas-powered hot water heater. Basically, when the pilot light goes out, you won’t have any hot water in your home. There are several reasons a pilot light may go out, so knowing how to turn it back on is important. Knowing how to turn it off is equally as important. 

How To Turn Off The Pilot Light:

Knowing how to turn off your pilot light is beneficial during the summer months. It is also crucial to know this if you smell gas in your home. 

  1. Turn off the heater mode on your thermostat. 
  2. Turn off the pilot light. Find the valve on your gas line. Turn it to the off position. This position should face away (perpendicular) to your gas line. 

How To Relight The Pilot Light: 

  1. Turn off your gas using the gas shut-off valve. You should wait about 10 minutes for any residual gas to clear. 
  2. Locate the pilot light. You will find this underneath the gas valve. Sometimes there will be a cover you have to open manually. 
  3. Locate your pilot button and turn it on by pressing down. If you don’t have a button, there will be an option located on your gas valve that allows you to turn the knob to Pilot. 
  4. Holding down the knob or button, use a light to ignite the pilot light. We suggest using an extended light to make this as easy and safe as possible. Continue to hold the knob or button for a few seconds to ensure the flame doesn’t go out right away. 
  5. Turn the gas back on and replace any covers. 
  6. Give your water heater some time, then check that hot water is working by turning on your sink or shower. 

If you try this with no success and your water heater is close to or more than 12 years old, it may be a sign that you need a new system. Instead of trying to repair an old water heater that is past its prime, it may be a better investment to replace the unit. 

Types of Water Heaters

The first step is to discover if you have a water heater that uses a pilot light. The most common water heaters will be electric, gas, or tankless. Electric and tankless water heaters do not require a pilot light. However, knowing the steps is still important to avoid risking further damage.

Most water heaters are simple to work with. They do not always require the help of a professional unless there are other more concerning issues with the system.

How To Turn on An Electric Water Heater

Follow these steps to turn on the electric water heater. Simply:

  • Close Open Faucets or Valves
  • Turn on Your Cold Water
  • Access Your Breaker Box
  • Turn on the Circuit for the Hot Water Heater

How To Turn on A Gas Water Heater

The steps for turning on a gas water heater involve:

  • Closing Open Faucets or Valves
  • Turning on the Cold Water
  • Relight Your Pilot Light
  • Turn the Gas Valves On

In both cases, the water heater should turn on automatically if installed correctly. If you do not hear it making noise, your problem may be more serious.

How To Light The Pilot of a Gas Water Heater

A gas water heater is a little more involved but still easy to do. The first thing you will need to do is verify where the water heater pilot light is located. The pilot light’s location will vary based on your water heater, but typically it will be in an open gap under the gas valve or behind a panel door.

Once you have located the pilot light, you will need to:

  • Locate the burner. Look for gas lines that are going to it.
  • Turn the gas knob to start pilot mode and light the pilot light using a lighter or the ignition button.
  • Once you have a small flame, you will need to keep holding the gas knob for a minute before releasing it, ensuring that the light stays on when you release the knob.
  • Turn on the gas valve. You should hear a “whoosh” when the main burner ignites to let you know it’s heating your water.

Your water heater pilot light should not turn off frequently. If it does, there could be other issues with the water heater or the gas flowing into it.

Please note: You should avoid holding the pilot light for long periods. It could become dangerous if gas builds up too much pressure.

How To Light The Pilot of An Electric Water Heater

When you have an electric water heater, you don’t have to worry about a pilot light being blown out by some unknown breeze. However, you still have to know how to turn it on.

Step 1: Check Your Tank

If you are confident that your electric water heater has a tank full of water, remember it never hurts to check. The easiest way to test your water tank’s fullness is to turn on just the hot water tap in your home. If it flows freely and unrestricted, then your tank is holding water, just not heating it.

Step 2: Flip the Switch

The next step is to go to your breaker. In most breaker boxes within your home, you will have one switch that is labeled water heater. If it is pointing in the same direction as others within the fuse panel, you can switch it off and then try to turn the switch back on.

Step 3: Wait

If this works, you must wait for it to kick your water heater back into action. This step could take a few hours.

Step 4: Make Sure It Is Setup Right

Check your water heater to make sure it has not defaulted to the base temperature of 120 degrees. Look at your owner’s manual to find out how to handle this situation.

Bradford White Water HeatersBradford White Water Heaters | Rooter Man

When it is time to replace your water heater, you can trust Bradford White for the highest quality product, longevity, and efficiency. Bradford White water heaters are built to last. These are American-made products that are covered by a generous warranty and feature the latest high-efficiency innovations. No matter the size or design of your home, Bradford White has a model for your unique home that takes your price range and lifestyle into consideration. Their comprehensive options include tankless, electric, natural gas, oil burning, low-NOx (nitrogen oxide), solar, propane, and hybrid models.

Pilot Light Going Out Frequently? Water Still Not Hot? Contact Rooter Man in Southern Louisiana!

Now that you know how to turn on water heaters in your home, it is important that you also know who to call when things don’t go according to plan. Contact Rooter Man to work with a family-owned and fully experienced company. We are just a call away. We service areas around New Orleans, Covington, LaPlace, Metairie, and Mandeville.


Image Credit: nikkytok / Lost_in_the_Midwest / skimin0k / You Touch Pix of EuToch / Shutterstock

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