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Categories: Water Heaters

How Do I Relight My Water Heater Pilot Light? 

How Do I Relight My Water Heater Pilot Light? 

It’s happened to all of us. You get ready to jump into a hot shower one morning only to find that the water is cold as ice.

The problem is usually a simple one: The pilot light that heats the water in your water heater tank has gone out. 

Many people find the idea of relighting a pilot light to be scary because it involves working with gas. It’s an understandable fear, but not really a reasonable one. 

We’re going to walk you through how to relight the pilot light on your water heater and get hot water running again quickly. 

  1. The first step is to locate your water heater. Once you’re in front of it, look at the bottom, usually right below the gas valve, to see if you can see a flame. There might be a small metal door or plate you need to move to see the flame. If you can’t see a flame, it means your pilot light has gone out.
  1. Next, locate the gas valve on your water heater. This gas valve is typically along the bottom of your water heater and will be marked “Gas.” Turn the valve to the off position and leave it turned off for 10 minutes to allow the gas to dissipate.
  1. Go back to where you previously looked for the flame. This is where you’ll try to ignite the pilot light.
  1. Turn the gas valve to the “Pilot” position while pressing down on the valve. This will cause the gas valve to release enough gas to light the pilot. Some water heaters have a totally separate button/knob marked “Pilot.” If this is the case, follow the same steps accordingly.
  1. The next step is to actually light the pilot. Age determines how to light your pilot. Water heaters made since 2014 no longer require manual lighting. These water heaters are now equipped with electric spark generators, much like a gas grill. This generated spark is what ignites the gas, which lights the pilot light.
  2. Once you’ve ignited the pilot light and can see a flame, you’ll then turn the gas valve back to the “ON” position.

If you have an older water heater (pre-2014), you’ll have to light the pilot using a manual lighter. You would follow steps 1 through 4 above, and then use a long handle lighter to ignite the gas. 

Note: It’s very important to use one hand to push in and turn the knob to pilot and continue holding it for at least 10 to 15 seconds, and then use the other hand mash the button for the electric igniter without lifting your other hand off.

One of the biggest reasons homeowners can’t get the pilot lit is simply because they didn’t hold the knob down long enough.

There’s a safety feature built in and it must get hot enough before allowing the gas to flow before being able to light with the spark.  

If this doesn’t work the first time, or if the pilot doesn’t stay lit the first time, wait a few minutes and try again, following the above steps in order. 

If the pilot still won’t light or won’t stay lit, there might be another problem. It could be a bad thermocouple, a failed burner assembly, or no gas from the utility company.  

For more assistance, watch our video here.

If you’ve tried this and still can’t get the pilot lit or if this is just not a task you’re comfortable doing, call Three Way Plumbing, and we’ll be happy to help.

*If emergency, please call
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