Michael Runk Blog

How to Light a Pilot for a Gas Hot Water Heater

February 17, 2017

If you’ve noticed you’re not getting any more hot water, it’s possible the pilot on your water heater went out. Before you attempt to re-light the pilot, be sure to read through these instructions to avoid serious damage to your person or home. Here’s how to light a pilot for a gas hot water heater.

How to Light a Pilot for a Gas Hot Water Heater

Access the Type of Water Heater

The first step to lighting the pilot for a gas hot water heater is to determine the type of water heater you have. If it is, in fact, a gas water heater, then you need to try and locate the pilot light itself. Sometimes, these pilot lights can be located within a closed burner as opposed to out in the open and visible through an access panel. Additionally, some gas water heaters don’t even have pilots. In these instances, we recommend contacting a Maryland water heater repair service to have them do the fix.

Check for Leaks

Now that you know you do, in fact, have a gas water heater and can access the pilot, it’s time to check for gas leaks. While natural gas is odorless, gas companies add mercaptan to the gas to make it smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. If you notice this smell around any of the gas valves on the water heater or leading to the water heater, then DO NOT attempt to re-light the pilot light. Call in a professional water heater repair company immediately!

Turn Off the Gas

Now that you know where the light is, and that there are no leaks, it’s time to turn off the gas going to the pilot light. Once off, leave the gas off for about 10 minutes to allow any gas to dissipate to avoid an explosion. Remember that when dealing with anything explosive, such as natural gas, safety is extremely important.

Turn the Gas Back On, and Light

Now that you’ve waited 10 minutes for the gas to dissipate, it’s time to re-light the pilot light. Turn the gas back on to the pilot light, and keep the heat setting on low. Then, using a long-neck lighter, re-light the pilot light by simply exposing the front part of the pilot to an open flame. If the pilot does not light, turn the heat setting up higher and try again. Also be sure you are attempting to light the pilot of the side facing the water tank. If the pilot still doesn’t light, the part may be broken at which point it’s best to call in a water heater repair service to fix it.

For more help with your hot water heater, get in touch with a Maryland plumbing and heating specialist. Michael Runk plumbing and heating is an Eldersburg plumber located in Carroll County, MD who has provided over 20 years of residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing, water, and heating services to the area. Give Michael Runk a call at 410-781-6791 or schedule an appointment on our website, today!

 


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