Gas water heater Pilot Light
You can relight a gas water heater's pilot flame yourself.
Tank-type gas water heaters use a pilot light to ignite the gas burner when the water in the tank needs to be heated. Usually, the first warning that your pilot light has gone out is the cold water coming from the hot water tap. A pilot light can go out for reasons other than equipment malfunction, such as unexpected fluctuations in gas main pressure. If your heater’s pilot goes out, you can relight it yourself.
Locate the gas regulator valve on the water heater. It is located on the outside of the water heater where the gas pipe enters the unit and has have a knob on it. The valve regulates gas flow to the pilot burner beneath the hot water tank. Turn the valve knob to the “Off” position. Wait five minutes. Locate the pilot burner beneath the gas water heater. Lift off or unsnap any access cover that blocks access to the burner. Illuminate the pilot burner with the flashlight.
Turn the gas regulator valve’s knob to “Pilot, ” press down on it and hold it down. This starts the flow of gas to the pilot burner. On some water heater models, you press and hold down a separate red button to start the pilot burner gas flow. If your heater has a built-in piezo-electric spark pilot igniter, look for a red or black button labeled “Ignition” on the top or side of the gas valve. Push the button to ignite the pilot. You will hear a click as the igniter sparks. If your heater requires manual lighting, the safest lighter is a long-necked barbeque lighter. Apply the lighter flame to the pilot burner.
Hold down the regulator valve knob for at least one minute after the pilot has been lit. This allows the pilot flame to heat the thermocouple safety sensor that detects the presence of a live pilot flame. Slowly let up on the regulator valve knob. When the pilot light stays lit after you release the knob, turn the knob to “On.” You should hear a muffled "whoomp" sound as the main burner ignites. Replace the access covers.
Things You Will Need
- Barbeque lighter
- Look for a label on your gas water heater that gives pilot lighting instructions specific to your heater model.
- Do not attempt to relight a water heater pilot light (or any other work on the unit) if you smell gas in the area, indicating a gas leak; call 9-1-1 from outside the house.