How To Light Your Water Heater

Pilots On Gas Heaters

Anything that’s run by gas, such as a water heater, a gas stove, a gas grill, or a furnace will all have to have a way to ignite the gas, and many of these products or appliances will have a pilot that must be lit, such as a gas furnace. The pilot in a heater for water is important because it’s what lights the main burner, which will heat up the water for usage in the home.

Sherman Oaks, CA lighting-water-heatersIf the pilot goes out, it’s not always because of a mechanical problem, but there are many possibilities. Older heaters that have access panels that open up to the pilot may have been left ajar or opened, which then exposes the pilot light to breeze or other things that may out the light.

In some cases, the gas company needs to quickly shut off the gas because there has been some emergency, and this may cut out the pilot light, and it’s also possible to damage the pilot as well.

There can also be other issues with the pilot that has caused it to stop burning, so finding out the problem should be the main focus before simply relighting the pilot.

Take Safety Seriously With A Gas Heater

Gas heaters are great in a home and can warm water for the home very well, but it’s also wise to stay cautious around gas because of its flammability. When it’s determined that the pilot has gone out, the very first thing that should be done is to turn off the gas valve, which is located on the water heater next to the temperature gauge.

Turn the gas valve off, and allow a few minutes to pass before trying to do anything else to the heater. Allowing some time to pass will let gas clear from the room, but it’s also wise to check for a gas leak as well. A gas heater will have a thermocouple, which has a sensor to know if the pilot is lit and will cut off the gas if the pilot is no longer lit, and this is a great way to keep the Sherman Oaks home safe from gas leaks.

Only if the thermocouple is working properly will it do its job of cutting off the gas, so heaters with a broken thermocouple may have a problem of leaking gas. If after 5-10 minutes gas can still be smelled in the room, then there very well might be a leak, and this is something that needs the attention of the gas company. If there is no leak, then it’s safe to proceed forward with trying to relight the pilot.

Getting The Pilot Lit Again

Every heater will come with special instructions to light the pilot, especially since this is something that is important to the functionality of the heater and is something that can be somewhat dangerous. Never let a child relight the pilot, and it’s best to have a plumber that is checking the heater to relight the pilot instead as well as having them examine the heater for any other problems.

The instructions to relight the pilot is meant specifically for the water heater that it’s on, so it wouldn’t be wise to look for instructions elsewhere. Look for the temperature gauge that should be below the gas valve, and turn the temperature down to the lowest setting that is on the gauge.

  • On some heaters, there is a regulator valve, and this may be located topside of the gas and thermostat gauge. The regulator valve is going to be a red button that has to be pushed down to start flowing gas to the pilot, so observe where this button is when it’s time to relight the pilot. It’s important to know how the pilot will be relit, which can be one of two ways.
  • The pilot can be relit with an ignition that only must be pressed down to light it, but this is only available in newer heaters, not the older ones. It’s likely that the newer heaters will have the pilot behind glass, which means they can’t be accessed but can still be lit with the igniter that is installed in the heater.
  • Those that have an older heater will have to manually light the pilot, which should only be done with the safety of a wand lighter that has several inches of reach to keep the hands away from the pilot.
  • Sherman Oaks, CA lighting-water-heaters-2After it’s determined how the pilot must be lit, whether it’s manually or by pushing an ignition, then it’s time to light the pilot. Those that have to light the pilot manually should make sure the access door to the pilot is open, which should be towards the bottom of the heater.

Both hands are needed to light the pilot, so one hand should reach toward the pilot with the wand lighter, and the other hand should turn the gas valve on the setting of “pilot,” and this valve should be able to be pushed downwards to give gas to the pilot.

If the heater is not the type that can press the gas valve downward, then the regulator valve must be pushed instead. Push the regulator valve down or the gas valve and hold it while lighting the pilot with the opposite hand.

After the pilot is lit, do not let go of either valve until about a minute has passed, just to give the pilot enough time to stay lit.

The pilot should stay lit after releasing either valve and then the access panel to the pilot can be closed. Turn the gas back on, and choose a higher temperature on the temperature gauge, which should be 120°F.

Water Heater Repair And Maintenance Is Crucial

Those that have had problems with their heater may need to consider water heater repair, especially if they keep having breakdowns or problems getting warm water. Maintain the unit every year, and get repairs as necessary.

For excellent water heater repair in the Sherman Oaks, CA area call Plumbing Brothers & Rooter at (855) 336-2679 today.