How To Light the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater

When a water heater pilot light goes out, it usually means that a natural change in gas pressure extinguished the flame. The main sign that you need to light the pilot light on your hot water heater is one that everyone dreads: The water won’t get hot. It’s important to know how to light your water heater’s pilot light so you can get the flame going again as soon as possible, not only to get your hot showers back but also to make sure no gas gets accidentally released into the house in the event of a broken flame sensor.

How To Light the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater

How To Light the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater

When a water heater pilot light goes out, it usually means that a natural change in gas pressure extinguished the flame. The main sign that you need to light the pilot light on your hot water heater is one that everyone dreads: The water won’t get hot. It’s important to know how to light your water heater’s pilot light so you can get the flame going again as soon as possible, not only to get your hot showers back but also to make sure no gas gets accidentally released into the house in the event of a broken flame sensor.

Before you light the pilot light on your hot water heater:

It’s important to follow the instructions for your model before you light the pilot light on your hot water heater.  If you’re unable to find the instructions, you’ll at least need to determine if you hot water heater is automatic or manual. 

To do this, check out the silver box that is sticking out on the side of your hot water heater. There should be a large dial that says pilot on it. If you see a button next to it with the word ignition under it, then you have an automatic hot water heater. If you do not see the ignition button, you have a manual hot water heater.

Start by finding the gas shut-off valve on the water heater first, which is usually labeled clearly on the front lower part of the water heater. Turn the knob to “Off,” and then wait five minutes for the gas to clear before continuing to light the pilot light on your hot water heater. 

How To Light the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater

Lighting the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater if it’s Manual:

  1. Open the door/cover over the pilot light access. This will be located under the gas valve; some water heaters just have an open gap instead where you can see the pilot light burner.
  1. Use a flashlight or a headlamp to find the burner inside. Two small gas tubes will lead to it. You’ll want to watch it as you work.
  2. Turn the gas knob to “Pilot,” press and hold it down. This will start the flow of gas so you can light the flame. Some water heaters have a separate button for pilot mode, usually a red one, which you’ll press and hold.
  3. While still holding the gas down, light that pilot.
  4. When the flame ignites, continue to hold the gas knob or button down for a full minute. Then release it slowly, and make sure the light is still lit.
  5. Turn the gas knob to “On,” and listen for the distinct “whump” or whooshing noise of the main burner igniting.
  6. Replace the cover and enjoy your hot shower.

Lighting the Pilot Light on Your Hot Water Heater if it’s Automatic:

For an automatic hot water heater, just repeat all steps above. But this time, do not remove any plates. All you have to do is hold the pilot knob down for 30 seconds and hold the ignition button at the same time. You do not need to use a lighter. Your pilot light will turn on!

Contact a Professional Plumber to Help with Your Hot Water Heater

If you’re having a hard time with this step, we have years of experience with hot water heaters. Contact High Speed Plumbing, and we would love to help you.

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