Michael Runk Blog

Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

October 20, 2017

The first indication that something has gone awry with your water heater is a lack of hot water. One of the main reasons this happens is because of an issue with the pilot light. Let’s learn about why your pilot light might be going out, and what to do to fix it!

Michael Runk - Hot Water Heater Services

What is a pilot light?

The pilot light inside your water heater is a small gas flame that burns continuously and acts as an ignition source for the heater’s larger burner. If the pilot light goes out, the large burner is no longer able to heat the water that flows through your home.

How do I know if the pilot light is out?

Water heaters have a small hole or observation window that allows you to see into the part of your heater where the pilot light sits. Detecting the presence of an issue is simple – if you see a flame, all is well. If you don’t see a flame, the pilot light has gone out.

Why did my pilot light go out?

Two of the most common issues with water heater pilot lights are:

  • A dirty thermocouple – The thermocouple’s purpose is to detect whether the pilot light is on or off. The thermocouple detects an unlit pilot and shuts off the gas to the water heater as a safety precaution. A dirty thermocouple will not be able to hold a constant flame and will need cleaning before it is able to stay lit again.
  • A broken thermocouple – Equipment that is made of many parts that work together to create a working system will always be at risk of having parts break after years of use. A broken thermocouple may mean that your pilot light will not just have issues staying lit, but might prevent the pilot from not lighting at all. This part will need replacement before your water heater can start heating again.
    How do I fix the problem?

Although you might feel comfortable cleaning the thermocouple or relighting the pilot on your own, it’s best to call a licensed Maryland plumbing and heating professional when your water heater malfunctions. This guarantees that the issue will be fixed properly, and an expert can give you advice on how to better maintain your water heater so that your pilot light is less likely to go out again.

Have a water heater pilot light that won’t stay on? Contact the professionals at Michael Runk Plumbing & Heating today, and we guarantee we’ll get your water back to heating in no time!

 


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