Easy Ways to Re-Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

When you walk into the shower, you expect the water to get nice and hot within a few seconds. If an icy blast greets you instead, you know something’s wrong. The typical offender behind this uncomfortable, chilly surprise is a water heater pilot light that’s gone out.

Don’t worry—relighting your pilot doesn’t require specialized skills. Follow the quick, step-by-step strategies from the pros at Stevenson Service Experts listed below, and you’ll soon be back to enjoying those hot showers.

Tips on How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

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

  1. Locate the gas shut-off valve, which you’ll usually find 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 commonly located under the gas valve. On occasion, there isn’t a door; instead, you might see the pilot light burner through a small opening.
  3. Get a flashlight or headlamp. Then, peer into the pilot light access and locate two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Keep an eye on this spot as you proceed with lighting the water heater pilot.
  4. Switch the gas knob to “Pilot.” This move lets the gas flow, readying the pilot light for ignition. Some units have a designated red button for pilot mode, which you should press and hold.
  5. Relight the pilot light while still holding down the gas knob or button. Your water heater may have an igniter button, frequently red or black. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot physically.
  6. Push down the gas knob or button for roughly 30 to 60 seconds after the flame catches. Be certain the flame stays lit. 
  7. Rotate the gas knob to “On.” You should hear a whump or whoosh sound as the main burner ignites and your water heater roars back to life.
  8. Place the door or access cover back on the unit. Give your water heater about 20 to 60 minutes to warm the water, and you’ll be ready to enjoy that hot shower!

What if {the Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit?

Needing to relight the pilot from time to time isn’t a cause for concern. However, there could be a more severe underlying issue if the water heater pilot light won’t stay lit. Some frequent factors that cause this problem are:

  • Faulty thermocouple: The thermocouple is an automatic safety shut-off, preventing gas flow when the pilot light isn’t on. If this component is misaligned, dirty or damaged, you may face frequent pilot light problems. Reposition the thermocouple just a tiny bit and try lighting the pilot again. If that doesn’t get the job done, you might need to clean it. And if that proves unproductive, it could be necessary to replace the thermocouple, an easy task for a licensed technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light gives off a yellow flame, it’s probably due to a dirty pilot opening. This can restrict the thermocouple’s performance, causing pilot light instability.
  • Weak or malfunctioning gas regulator: Trouble with this component may lead to an inadequate gas supply needed to maintain the pilot light. If several gas appliances in your residence have similar problems, take a look at the regulator.
  • Breezy conditions: Water heaters often share a utility closet with the furnace, which requires fresh air to operate properly. Stiff drafts from this air intake can extinguish the pilot light.

Congrats, Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light is Lit. Let Stevenson Service Experts Keep it That Way!

If you’re still having difficulty with your water heater pilot light in Columbus, don’t hesitate to call Stevenson Service Experts. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, reliable remedies to all your comfort worries. Everything we do is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not pleased with our work, we’ll work to fix it. We are leaders in innovation and customer service, with deep community involvement that is a reflection of our commitment to your comfort. Call 614-334-3192 today to reach the professional staff at Stevenson Service Experts. We’re standing by to make a major difference in your life, one hot shower at a time. 

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