How to Relight Pilot Light Water Heater

Posted by: Mas Broto
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How To Relight Pilot Light Water Heater

The water heater pilot light ignites the gas coming into your tank, which then heats the water, giving you your hot water supply around the house. If the pilot light fails, then you will not have any hot water. In this article, we’ll show you how to relight the pilot light water heater yourself.

Sometimes more serious problems can arrive from problematic pilot lights and could be a problem with your thermocouple. Typically in modern, efficient water heater units, you have electronic ignition, and with standard gas water heaters, you have basic ignition.

Whatever water heater you have, this article will guide you to resolve your pilot light on the water heater to solve your problems. This will save you anywhere from $100 to $250, as plumbers like to replace the thermocouple even when not necessary. This is not a difficult task either, but re-lighting the pilot light water heater can only take 10 mins of your time.

Types Of Water Heater Pilot Lights

There are two types of pilot lights; find out what your type is to correctly relight your pilot light.

  • Older styles that require match lighting usually have access panels at the bottom of the water tank.
  • New modern sealed burners that have a push spark button.

Gas water heaters depend on a thermocouple. This senses when the pilot light is on or off, so when the thermocouple is not working, you will have problems igniting the water heater. If your pilot light will not stay on, then it is an indication you have a malfunctioning thermocouple.

How do you relight a pilot light on a gas water heater?

Water heaters are usually labeled with instructions on how to light the water heater. As all water heaters are different, each process will be slightly different from another make model. This is typically stuck to the side of the tank look for it and make sure you understand it. They are there for safety reasons. The major difference is the waiting times needed to wait in between each process.

If you cannot re-light the pilot light water heater with the recommended manufacturing process, then you can read our other steps below.

How to light a Modern Water Heater Pilot light

  1. The first thing is to turn the temperature setting to its lowest position and then turn the gas valve off. Wait about 10 minutes, as there may be some lingering gas. You will need to use a water heater pilot light ignites for the next step.
  2. Remove the outer cover from the burner unit. You will see a small glass window that will let you see the pilot light.
  3. Lighting instructions are different on every water heater. Again make sure you read how it’s done and follow the steps as they have stated on your heater, as these are the recommended settings on how to light a hot water heater.
  4. You will then need to set the on-off control to the pilot setting.
  5. Hold down the pilot button and then press the spark generator. You should hear a click, then keep the pilot button held for a further 20 seconds to ensure the pilot is fully lit.
  6. Watch through the glass and ensure the pilot remains lit. Then you can turn the gas valve back on. You can then set the thermostat to the temperature you need.

How to Light an Older Water Heater Pilot light

  1. Again Ensure your temperature is set to its lowest heat setting. Once done, turn the gas valve to the Off position and wait for at least 10 minutes for any excess gas to empty.
  2. Remove the cover from the burner, and with a small flashlight to see your burner and with a long match or grill lighter, try to reach the center.
  3. You will then need to follow the manufactures instructions to correctly re-light the pilot light.
  4. Usually, when re-lighting the pilot, you will need to hold down the red button (water heater pilot button) for as long as stated in the instructions. Keep looking at the pilot light until it has been fully lit.
  5. Again wait some time and ensure that the pilot light does not turn off and turn back your gas valve on. And reset your temperature thermostat.

What do you do when the pilot light goes out again and again?

If you have continuous issues with your pilot light turning off, then you more than likely have a problem with the thermocouple. It could be corroded or just needs to be replaced.

You can perform some general maintenance on the thermocouple with a soft wire brush. Even an old toothbrush will do the job. Give it a soft clean over, and then re-try to light the pilot light water heater.

Remember that if your pilot light water heater does not stay on consistently, then you do have issues with your thermocouple or check you do not have a draft in the attic or garage, as even a light draft can put the water heater pilot light out. Another reason you can check it your pilot orifice can be clogged or the water heater gas valve is damaged.

mas broto avatar

Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.

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