How To Light The Pilot Light In a Gas Water Heater

If you have a gas water heater, but don’t have any hot water, then the pilot light has probably just went out. The wind, drafts and even fluctuations in the gas supply can sometimes cause the pilot flame to go out.

To check the pilot light you’ll need to take the cover off of the bottom. Make sure that you turn the knob to Pilot before removing the cover, this will keep the water heater from kicking on while you’re looking inside the bottom of the water heater.

If there’s a small flame burning at the end of the gas supply tube, then the problem isn’t caused by the pilot light. But, if you don’t see a flame you’ll need to re-light the pilot.

If the pilot light is lit, but you still don’t have any hot water, check to see if the burner is igniting. Turn the hot water on and let it run for a few minutes. While it’s running watch inside the burning chamber to see if the flame lights.

Don’t get too close to the opening of the burning chamber, you won’t need to be up close to see the large flame that surrounds the top of the burner. If the burner don’t light, then the thermostat is probably bad and will need changed.

The instructions should be on the water heater itself, but if they’re not don’t worry. The steps to lighting a pilot light are basically the same for each model. You can use a fireplace match or if you have one, you can use one of the long lighters used for grills or fireplaces.

Turn the water heater control knob to off and wait at least five minutes for any gas to clear from the air. If you’ve waited awhile and can smell gas, don’t do anything else. This means that you have a gas leak and you will need to find and fix it immediately.

If you don’t smell any gas then you can proceed to re-light the pilot. If you can’t see the end of the gas supply tube, use a flashlight. The supply tube starts at the control valve and goes into the burning chamber of the water heater.

Once you’ve found the end of the supply tube and gotten into a good position to be able to see it, turn the knob to pilot. Place the lit match or lighter at the end of the tube and hold the reset button on the control valve down.

The gas will quickly light and you’ll see the small flame at the end of the tube. Don’t release the reset button yet, you’ll need to hold it down for about a minute or so to make sure that the flame stays lit.

If the pilot light keeps going out after you’ve lit it, then you may have a faulty, or loose thermocouple or there could even be a clog in the gas supply line. Check the connection of the thermocouple at the control valve and make sure that it’s tight.

To change a thermostat you will need to turn off the water and gas going to it and completely drain the water heater. After the gas is off, disconnect the pipes and thermocouples. Turn the old thermostat counter clockwise to disconnect it. Install the new one, hook all the lines back up and check for gas leaks.

The flame for a water heater pilot light should only be burning about half an inch high and the tips of the flames should be a blue color. If the flame is lower than that, it could be the reason that it’s going out so easy. If the flame is higher, you should adjust it down to half an inch.