Express Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

If you have a gas water heater, chances are that at least once and a while your pilot light may go out. The pilot light is a small, ever-burning flame that ignites the gas burner when the water in your tank needs to be heated up. There are a variety of reasons why this light may go out. These may range from mechanical failure to a sudden change in the gas main pressure. Fortunately, relighting the pilot light is a fairly simple procedure.

The first thing you want to do is to find out if the pilot light is truly the issue. Depending on your water heater’s design, you may need to remove an access panel. Newer heaters may have a clear glass case you can look through. Either way, you will need to make sure you can see a flame burning. If you can then your pilot light is not the issue.

Your pilot light is indeed out? the next step is to make sure there is no leaking gas. If you attempt to light the pilot light when there is leaking gas, you will have much bigger problems than a lack of hot water! Stand near your water heater and listen for a hissing sound. Also, see if you can detect a strange smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. If either of these signs is present, immediately get away from the area and call your gas company.

If you’re not detecting any gas, you should see instructions on the side of your tank on how to relight the pilot. Most of the time it starts with turning the temperature control all the way down. This is usually found on the outside of the heater. It should be labeled. Near this will be the regulator valve. You will want to turn this to the off position to stop the gas flow. You will want to wait for about 10minutes or so to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

Determine whether you will need to manually light the heater or if your heater is equipped with an ignition switch. Newer models have these switches. If your model is older, you’ll want to use a long lighter, like the ones designed for a barbeque grill. This will protect you from injury or burning yourself.

Remember the regulator valve? You will now want to turn this to the “Pilot” setting and hold it down. This may also be done by holding down a red control button if your tank has one. While holding this down, swiftly light the pilot or push the ignition switch down. Continue to hold down the button or valve. If it stays lit, turn the main gas valve back on and set your preferred temperature. This should allow the main burner to light and begin heating your tank again.

If you still experience issues after following these steps, give Express Plumbing Heating & Air a call. We’re available 24/7 to get your up and running again!

Brad Jordan

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