How to light a pilot light on a water heater [✓Easy steps]

Discover how to safely and effectively light a water heater's pilot light with this helpful guide.

A water heater pilot light is a crucial component that ignites the gas burner in the water heater, to start the water heating process. However, there are instances when the pilot light may go out due to various factors, such as external wind, gas supply interruptions, or internal component malfunctions. In this guide, we will help you with the step-by-step process of safely and effectively lighting a water heater pilot light. Whether you have a gas-powered tank water heater or a tankless water heater, this guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and instructions to relight the pilot light.

What is Water Heater Pilot Light, and how it works

ignitor pilot and thermocouple of gas water heater

Before learning the process of lighting a water heater pilot light, it’s important to know its purpose and function. The pilot light is a small, continuously burning flame that ignites the gas burner in the water heater when hot water is required. It is typically located near the bottom of the water heater and is responsible for maintaining a constant flame to ignite the main burner.

Safety Precautions Before Lighting the Pilot Light

Safety should be the top priority when working with gas appliances. Before attempting to light the pilot light, follow these essential safety precautions:

Read the manufacturer’s instructions: Familiarize yourself with the specific instructions provided by the water heater manufacturer. Each model may have slightly different requirements.

Ventilate the area: Ensure that the area surrounding the water heater is well-ventilated to avoid the accumulation of gas.

Avoid flammable materials: Keep flammable items, such as paper, cloth, or cleaning liquids, away from the water heater to prevent them from catching fire.

Gather the Essentials: For this task, you’ll need a flashlight, a long barbecue lighter(for manual lighting), and a screwdriver to open the access panel.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely light a water heater pilot light:

Step 1: Turn off the Gas

Locate the gas regulator knob on the gas control valve, typically found on the top or front of the gas control valve. Rotate the knob’s indicator dial to the “Off” position and wait for approximately 10 minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

Step 2: Locate the Pilot Light Assembly

access panel of water heater

Find the rectangular access panel at the base of the water heater, usually situated below the gas control valve. Use a screwdriver or the appropriate tool to remove the access panel or cover that conceals the pilot light assembly. Set aside the panel in a safe place for reinstallation later. Use a flashlight to locate the pilot, which is recognizable by the two small gas lines connected to it.

Step 3: Turn Control valve Regulator Knob to “Pilot” mode

control valve regulator on pilot setting to light the pilot of water heater

Turn the regulator knob to the “Pilot” position and press the knob and hold it while lighting. When we press and hold the Knob the gas control valve sends the gas to the pilot tube to light it.

Step 4: Light the Pilot

Lighting the pilot can be done in two methods, and it also depends on the age of the water heater. If the water heater is old and doesn’t has an automatic electric ignitor, we need to use a long barbeque lighter to light the pilot. On the other hand, if it is a newer model, it already has an electric ignitor or sparker to light the pilot. Let’s see both methods below.

Manually lighting the pilot:

manually lighting water heater pilot light with long lighter

For older water heaters without electronic ignition, manually light the pilot by holding the lit tip of a long barbecue lighter near the pilot while continuing to press down on the regulator knob. Keep the lighter near the pilot until it ignites the pilot light, and then remove the lighter.

Electronic ignitor:

electric ignitor to light the pilot of water heater

Newer water heaters typically feature electronic ignition; there will be a button for ignition near the knob. Press down the regulator knob while repeatedly pressing the igniter button. Continue pressing the igniter button until you see the flame on the pilot.

Step 5: Testing

After successfully lighting the pilot, continue to hold down the regulator knob for about 90 seconds. This allows the air to clear out of the gas line and warms up the thermocouple. After 60-90 seconds of continuous holding of knob slowly release it and observe the pilot light that it remains lit.

If the pilot light goes out during this process, wait for approximately 10 minutes and then attempt to relight it again. If the pilot won’t stay lit or continues to go out after multiple attempts, it may indicate an underlying issue. Follow this detailed article to identify and solve the issue Troubleshooting: Why water heater pilot light won’t stay lit.

Step 6: Replace the Access Panel or Cover

Once you have confirmed that the pilot light is lit and stable, reattach the access panel or cover securely using the appropriate tools.

Frequently asked Questions:

Can I Relight the Pilot Light Myself?

Relighting the pilot light on your water heater is a task you can often do yourself easily. However, it’s important to prioritize safety and be aware of potential gas leaks. If you suspect a gas leak or notice a strong gas odor, it’sit’s crucial to evacuate your home immediately and call your gas company or professional for assistance.

Final words:

Relighting the pilot light on your water heater is a task that can be accomplished by following these step-by-step instructions. Remember to prioritize safety and seek professional assistance if you have any concerns or difficulties. With the knowledge gained from this guide, you can confidently handle the process of relighting your water heater’s pilot light and restore its functionality. Proper maintenance and regular inspection of your water heater can help prevent pilot light issues and ensure the efficient and reliable operation of your water heating system.

TanklessHelp Staff

TanklessHelp Staff has an experienced writers and researchers in the field of water heating technology. With a background in HVAC and plumbing, Tanklesshelp staff has in-depth knowledge in many types of waterheaters in America and Canada. They have a passion for educating homeowners and businesses on solving easy to hard repairs and guide them on how to maintain them to save money.

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