Easy Ways to Re-Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

When you step into the shower, you count on the water to get nice and hot very quickly. If a freezing blast greets you instead, you know something’s not right. The typical reason behind this unpleasant, chilly surprise is a water heater pilot light that’s gone out.

Don’t worry—relighting the pilot doesn’t require specialized skills. Follow the easy, step-by-step process from the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing outlined below, and you’ll soon be back to taking advantage of those hot showers.

Steps to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

First things first, read the user’s manual for your water heater model. Instructions differ from brand to brand, and you should find all the details you need in the manual. If you don’t have the original copy that came with the water heater, look up the model number online to find a digital version. Still, the following strategies should apply for many gas water heaters:

  1. Locate the gas shut-off valve, which you’ll usually find clearly marked on the lower front part of your water heater. Switch this knob to the “Off” position and wait for five to 10 minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.
  2. Open the pilot light access cover or door, which is normally found below the gas valve. Sometimes, there isn’t a door; instead, you could possibly see the pilot light burner by peering into a small opening.
  3. Find a flashlight or headlamp. Then, peer into the pilot light access and look for two small gas tubes leading to the burner. Keep an eye on this area as you go ahead with lighting the water heater pilot.
  4. Turn the gas knob to “Pilot.” This action 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. Light the pilot light while still holding down the gas knob or button. Your water heater may have an igniter button, often red or black. If your water heater does not, you’ll need a long lighter to light the pilot manually.
  6. Push down the gas knob or button for about 30 to 60 seconds after the flame ignites. Ensure the flame stays lit. 
  7. Switch the gas knob to “On.” You should hear a whump or whoosh sound as the main burner lights and your water heater comes back to life.
  8. Place the door or access cover back on the unit. 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 is usually not a major cause for concern. However, there could be a more severe underlying issue if the water heater pilot light will not stay lit. Some frequent causes of this are:

  • Dirty thermocouple: The thermocouple is an automatic safety shut-off, stopping gas flow when the pilot light is not lit. If this feature is misaligned, dirty or damaged, you may face frequent pilot light challenges. Move the thermocouple a little bit and try lighting the pilot once more. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to clean it. And if that proves fruitless, it could be necessary to replace the thermocouple, an easy task for a professional technician.
  • Dirty pilot opening: If your pilot light gives off a yellow flame, it’s very likely due to a dirty pilot opening. This can hinder the thermocouple’s operation, causing pilot light instability.
  • Weak or malfunctioning gas regulator: Issues with this component may 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.
  • Breezy conditions: Water heaters often share a utility closet with the furnace, which needs fresh air to function properly. Powerful drafts from this air intake can snuff out your pilot light.

So, You Re-Lit Your Pilot Light? Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Keep it That Way!

If you’re still having difficulty with your water heater pilot light in Canada, don’t hesitate to call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, reliable remedies to all your comfort troubles. Everything we do is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not pleased with our services, we’ll work to make it right. We are leaders in innovation and customer support, with deep community involvement that shows our commitment to your comfort. Call 866-397-3787 today to reach the professional 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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