How to fix a water heater pilot light - Plumbing-United
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How to fix a water heater pilot light

January 16, 2024 Author: Bekhruz Nagzibekov

Gas water heaters are reliable appliances that provide continuous access to hot water in homes. However, if you find yourself without hot water, the cause may be a malfunctioning pilot light. In this article, we will explore how to independently check and potentially address this issue.

Step 1: Pilot Light Inspection

Most water heaters have a removable access panel at the bottom. Remove the panel to access the pilot light and reset switch. 

Pilot Light Inspection

Approach your gas water heater and locate the spot where a small flame – the pilot light – typically burns.

the pilot light

If the pilot light is not burning, it may be the reason for the lack of hot water.

Pilot light is not burning

Step 2: Restoring the Pilot Light.

  • Switch the water heater to pilot mode.
  • Depress the pilot button and hold it in that position.
  • Wait approximately 30 seconds while continuing to hold the pilot button.
  • Visually check whether the flame in the pilot light has ignited.
  • If the flame has ignited, the problem was likely a momentary startup issue. Return the water heater to normal mode, and it should begin heating water.

If the flame does not ignite, proceed to the next step – the thermocouple may be faulty.

Pilot light is not burning

Step 3: Thermocouple Replacement

The thermocouple is a device responsible for maintaining the pilot light’s operation. If the pilot doesn’t start, the thermocouple may be defective. Replacing the thermocouple could resolve this issue.

Thermocouple Replacement
  • Disconnect the gas and power supply to the water heater.
Disconnect the gas and power supply to the water heater
  • Remove the panel to access
Remove the panel to access
  • Disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control device.
Disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control device
Disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control device
Disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control device
Disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control device
  • Purchase a new thermocouple compatible with your water heater.
Purchase a new thermocouple compatible with your water heater
  • Connect the new thermocouple to the gas control device.
Connect the new thermocouple to the gas control device
Connect the new thermocouple to the gas control device
  • Reinstall your burner.
Reinstall your burner
Reinstall your burner
  • Reconnect the gas and power supply, then repeat the pilot light restoration procedure.
Reconnect the gas and power supply, then repeat the pilot light restoration procedure
Reconnect the gas and power supply, then repeat the pilot light restoration procedure
  • Switch the water heater to pilot mode.
  • Depress the pilot button and hold it in that position.
  • Wait approximately 30 seconds while continuing to hold the pilot button.
  • Visually check whether the flame in the pilot light has ignited.

The flame should light. Go back to “Step 2” above to make sure you did everything correctly.

If the issue persists after these steps, it is recommended to consult a professional for a more thorough diagnosis and repair of your gas water heater. Remember that safety should be a priority, and if you lack experience in repairing gas appliances, it is best to rely on professionals.

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