Gas water heaters are a convenient and cost-efficient way to keep your home warm and cozy in the winter. They’re also fairly simple devices, with most having just a few moving parts. That being said, they can still malfunction at times, especially after extended use. If you notice that your pilot light is not lighting or has gone out on your water heater, don’t panic! You’re probably dealing with an easily fixable problem. In this article, we will go over all the details you need to know about how to relight a pilot light on your water heater.
How To Relight Pilot Light On Water Heater?
Check the pilot flame
The first thing that you should do when your water heater pilot light goes out is to check the pilot flame. This is a small blue flame that is found at the top of the pilot light. You should be able to see it through the glass portion at the top of the water heater. If you can’t see the pilot flame or it is yellow or orange in color, this could be an indication that your water heater’s pilot light has gone out. If this is the case, there are a few things that you can do to relight the pilot light. First, you can open up the water heater and manually adjust the flame by increasing or decreasing the airflow. In some models, you might have to adjust a small screw that is designed to control the airflow. Another thing that you can do is to clean the pilot light. If there is any debris in the water heater that is blocking the pilot flame, this can cause it to go out. With these two options, you should be able to see the pilot flame and relight the pilot light.
Reset the circuit
If you can’t see the pilot flame but you are able to open the water heater and adjust the airflow, you should try to reset the circuit. Most water heaters have a thermocouple that senses the pilot light and turns on the gas supply. With this in mind, you can reset the circuit by turning off the gas supply and then turning it back on. Once you have done this, the pilot light should relight on its own. If it doesn’t, you can manually light the pilot light and then reset the circuit again.
Use a match or lighter
If you can’t see the pilot flame and you can’t reset the circuit, you can try to light the pilot light with a match or a lighter. This may sound dangerous, but it is relatively safe if you know what you are doing. You should only attempt to light the pilot light if you have tried all of the other methods to relight it and none of them worked. Once you light the pilot light, it should stay lit until you turn off the water heater.
Turn on the gas and relight it with an electric spark
If you have tried everything else and you still can’t relight the pilot light, you should turn the gas supply back on and then light the pilot light with an electric spark. Essentially, you will use the power from an electric spark to relight the pilot light. This is a dangerous method and may not work, so you should only attempt it as a last resort. This is because it is easy to start a fire while turning the gas back on and re-lighting the pilot light with an electric spark. To do this, you should turn the gas back on and then use a long-handled screwdriver to create an electric spark. You can do this by touching the screwdriver’s metal tip to a metal surface. Once you have done this, you should see a blue spark and the pilot light should relight. If it doesn’t, you can do this several more times.
Call a Professional
If you have tried everything else and the pilot light still won’t relight, you should call a professional to come out and take a look at your water heater. There could be a problem inside the water heater that is preventing the pilot light from relighting. For example, the thermocouple may be broken, the gas supply may be clogged, or the pilot light may be out of alignment. For this reason, it is important to call a professional to inspect the water heater and recommend a solution. A professional can also tell you if there is a more serious problem with your water heater, such as corrosion. In most cases, however, they will be able to help you relight the pilot light and solve the issue.
What Causes A Water Heater Pilot Light To Go Out?
Your thermostat is broken
If your water heater pilot light keeps going out, it might be because the thermostat is broken. This is a common issue, especially for water heaters that are 10 years old or older. If the thermostat is broken, the water heater will keep turning on and off, and you’ll never be able to get the pilot light to stay lit. Your best bet is to buy a replacement thermostat that fits your water heater and replace the broken one. To figure out if your thermostat is broken, you can try replacing your water heater and then manually setting the temperature. If the pilot light stays on after you set the temperature, it’s your thermostat that’s broken.
There’s no gas
If your water heater pilot light goes out and there’s no gas coming out of the pilot, it might be because there’s no gas. If you recently changed your pilot light, or if you’re using a new water heater for the first time, you might have forgotten to turn the gas on. Turn the gas on and then try to turn the pilot light back on. If it doesn’t take, there might be a problem with the gas valve. You can have a professional come out and take a look at the situation, or you can try fixing it yourself. A common issue with gas valves is that the pilot is clogged up with sediment, which can be remedied by cleaning the pilot.
The thermocouple is bad
If your water heater pilot light goes out and there’s gas coming out of the pilot, the thermocouple might be bad. A thermocouple is a device that sits in the pilot flame and regulates the amount of gas that goes into the burner. If the thermocouple is bad, it might not let enough gas through to keep the pilot lit. It can also cause a gas leak in the water heater, which is a much more serious problem. If you have a gas leak, you have to call a professional right away to have it fixed. Luckily, thermocouples are easy to replace, and you can do it yourself.
The pilot light has gone out because there’s sediment in the tank
If your water heater pilot light goes out and there’s no gas coming out of it, you might have sediment in your pilot light tank. Sediment is caused by minerals in your water, and it can build up in your pilot light tank and clog up the opening that lets gas into the pilot light. To clean out the pilot light tank, you can use a small brush or a folded-up piece of paper. If you don’t clean out the sediment, it can keep building up and clog up your pilot light.
Tips To Avoid A Relight Issue
- Install a water heater with a quick-start pilot. This type of pilot has a much lower risk of malfunction.
- Make sure your water heater is installed properly. Improper installation can cause a pilot light to go out.
- If you notice that your water heater is operating inefficiently, consider replacing it. An older model may be more likely to produce issues that cause the pilot light to go out.
- If you find that your pilot light often goes out, you may want to contact a professional to conduct a thorough inspection. This can help determine the cause of the malfunction.
Tips For Preventing A Water Heater Pilot From Going Out
- Keep your water heater clean: use a water heater cleaning kit every few years to remove calcium and rust buildup from the unit.
- Be sure your water heater is properly vented: the National Fire Protection Association recommends at least one open window with a 12-inch minimum clearance from the bottom of the window.
- Use a water heater blanket: this can help keep the water heater warm and reduce energy costs.
- Consider installing a temperature/pressure release valve on your water heater. This can help with overheating and pressure issues.
A water heater pilot light going out can be a real pain, but it’s usually not a sign that you need to replace the entire unit. Instead, it’s likely due to an easy fix like a clog near or in the gas line or thermocouple. If your pilot light goes out, the first thing you should do is check all of the above items before calling a plumber. Once you have verified that everything is clear, simply relight the pilot using one of the three methods above. When you have a water heater pilot light issue, don’t panic. With these tips, you should be able to fix the problem quickly and easily.