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 ice-cold deluge greets you instead, you know something’s wrong. The typical root cause behind this uncomfortable, cold surprise is a water heater pilot light that’s gone out.

Don’t worry—relighting a water heater pilot doesn’t require a lot of training. Follow the easy, step-by-step strategies from the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing outlined below, and you’ll soon be back to delighting in those hot showers.

Steps to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

To start out, read the user’s manual for your water heater model. Instructions differ from brand to brand, and you should find the information you need in the manual. If you’ve misplaced the original copy that came with the water heater, look up the model number online to pull up a digital version. Nevertheless, the following strategies should apply for the majority of gas water heaters:

  1. Look for the gas shut-off valve, which generally is distinctly 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 let any remaining gas to dissipate.
  2. Open the pilot light access cover or door, which is usually positioned below the gas valve. On occasion, there isn’t a door; instead, you may see the pilot light burner through a small opening.
  3. Get a flashlight or headlamp. Next, peer into the pilot light access and find two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Observe this spot as you proceed 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 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. Your home’s water heater might have an igniter button, frequently red or black. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot manually.
  6. Push down the gas knob or button for roughly 30 to 60 seconds after the flame catches. Be certain the flame remains 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 roars back to life.
  8. Put the access cover or door back on. Give your water heater approximately 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 now and then isn’t a cause for concern. Unfortunately, there could be a bigger underlying issue if the water heater pilot light will not stay lit. Some frequent reasons behind this issue are:

  • Dirty 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 challenges. Move the thermocouple slightly 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 ineffective, it may be necessary to replace the thermocouple, an easy task for a licensed technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light has a yellow flame, it’s very likely due to a dirty pilot opening. This can inhibit the thermocouple’s performance, and cause pilot light instability.
  • Weak or malfunctioning gas regulator: Trouble with this component could lead to an inadequate gas supply needed to maintain the pilot light. If multiple gas appliances in your home have similar challenges, take a look at the regulator.
  • Drafty conditions: Water heaters frequently share a utility closet with the furnace, which demands fresh air to work properly. Powerful drafts from this air intake can extinguish the pilot light.

Got the Pilot Light 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., reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective solutions to all your comfort worries. 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 service, with rich 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. Let us make a big difference in your life, one hot shower at a time. 

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