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How To Reignite Your Gas Water Heater Pilot Light

So your gas water heater stopped heating your water? What a nightmare! Before you give in to cold showers or call your local plumber, consider one simple component of your system that might fix it all. Your pilot light! Unless you have an automatic pilot light, gas water heater pilot lights must be manually reignited if they go out. There are several reasons your pilot light might have been extinguished, including a faulty thermocouple (the component of your water heater that senses when your pilot light is lit), insufficient combustible air, or the flame was simply blown out due to a draft. No matter the issue, it’s a good idea to let your plumber know during their annual maintenance that the pilot light went out and you had to reignite it. If it continues to go out, call your trusted plumber to determine the issue and fix it!

Step-By-Step Guide To Reigniting Your Water Heater (since all models are different, it’s best to perform these steps with your owner’s manual handy). 

  1. Open the cover to the pilot light, which is usually located beneath the gas valve. Only open the cover if it has an open gap where you can see the pilot light burning. If there isn’t an open gap, your water heater has a sealed assembly. DO NOT attempt to remove the cover of a sealed burner assembly, as it prevents the ignition of flammable vapors outside the water heater. 
  2. Use a flashlight to locate the burner. There should be two gas tubes leading to it.
  3. Turn the gas on/off pilot switch to the “Pilot” position. This will initiate a flow of gas to light the flame. If your model has a button for pilot mode, hold it down.
  4. While holding the gas switch down or the button, light the pilot. Depending on the model, your water heater may have an igniting button, or you might need to light it manually with a long lighter. 
  5. Once the pilot light ignites, hold the switch or button for a full minute. Slowly release it to be sure the light remains lit. 
  6. Turn the gas switch to the “On” setting and listen for a whooshing sound coming from the burner. That sound means it’s ignited. 
  7. Replace the cover to the pilot light access. 

As stated above, all systems are different. If you decide to relight your pilot without the assistance of a trained professional, it’s best to have your owner’s manual so that you can confirm the components of your system. 

While it’s great to be able to fix your plumbing issues yourself, sometimes you need the help of a professional! When you do, we’ll be here to assist you! Call us anytime and get a plumber in your home for free to diagnose your issue and help you fix it the right way!

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