How to Light Your Gas Water Heater’s Pilot Light

How to Light Your Gas Water Heater’s Pilot Light

Is cold water coming out of the hot tap in your home? If you have a gas water heater, chances are good that your pilot light has gone out. Tank-type gas heaters use a small, constantly burning flame known as a pilot light to ignite the gas burner when the water in the tank needs to be heated. Whether it be due to mechanical failure or sudden changes in gas main pressure, this light can extinguish and may need to be relit periodically. In most cases, relighting the pilot light is a simple procedure which can be done in a few easy steps.

  1. Check the pilot light: The first step is to assess the situation and find out if the pilot light is indeed the culprit. You may need to remove a small access panel, or peer through a clear glass case in newer heaters, to see if the flame is still burning. If you still see a flame burning, the issue with your heater is likely more complex and requires professional servicing.
  2. Check for leaking gas: Never attempt to relight your pilot if there is leaking gas! To protect yourself from injury, stand next to your heater and see if you detect any unusual smells. If you hear a hissing sound or smell sulfur or rotten eggs anywhere near your heater, leave the area and call your gas company immediately.
  3. Turn the temperature control down: If you do not detect gas, consult with the instructions on the side of your heater for the specific procedure on how to relight your pilot. In many cases, the first step is to set the temperature control setting to the lowest possible setting. This knob is usually found on the outside of the water heater on the front of a box.
  4. Turn off the regulator valve: Usually on the same box as the temperature control is a regulator valve which controls gas flow to the pilot. Turn it to the “off” position and wait 10 minutes for any residual gas to dissipate.
  5. Determine your style of heater: Actually lighting the flame will vary depending on the age and style of your heater. Older heaters will require you to manually light the flame, while newer tanks will have in a built in igniter. If you have an old-style heater, get a matchstick or a “wand” barbeque heater to protect yourself from injury.
  6. Set the valve to “pilot” and hold it down: Setting the valve to pilot will restart the gas flow. If your valve does not push down, check for a red control button nearby and hold it down.
  7. Light the burner: While holding the valve or button down with one hand, use your other hand to quickly light the pilot or push down on the ignition switch. Continue to hold the gas valve or control button for another minute once it has been lit.
  8. Reignite the burner: If the flame stays lit, turn the main gas valve back to the “on” position and set your desired temperature. The main burner should light and begin heating the tank.

If your water heater should continue experiencing issues with temperature control or exhibit any other type of malfunction, your unit may need to be professionally repaired or replaced. At Plumbing Solutions, LLC, our Columbia plumbers can diagnose and address any issues with your water heater with professionalism and outstanding customer service. With 24/7 emergency plumbing services, fair pricing, and a guarantee to provide quality workmanship, our team has what it takes to help restore hot water to your home or business with ease.

Call (803) 618-4163 or contact us online today to schedule a service!