Reigniting Your Water Heater Pilot Light

August 17, 2022
Water Heater Pilot Light in South Charleston, WV

If you turn on your faucet and find only cold water, there’s a good chance the water heater pilot light has gone out. This common issue can be easily fixed by lighting your pilot again. However, it’s essential to know if anything else is going wrong in the system to prevent further water heater issues.

Check Your Water Heater

Before you attempt to reignite your pilot light, ensure you don’t smell any natural gas in or around the tank. Bend down to make sure no fumes are coming out of the tank’s bottom near the pilot. While this gas is naturally odorless and tasteless, mercaptan is added to give it a sulfur or rotten eggs smell. If you detect any natural gas, immediately leave the area and call your gas company. You’ll likely need to rely on a professional to service your water heater and fix the gas leak.

Also, there shouldn’t be any visible damage or odd smells or noises. Rumbling, hissing or clanking may indicate something has gone wrong in your system. Your water heater may also be compromised if you spot any leaking water, rust or corrosion.

Reigniting the Pilot

If nothing seems to be wrong, go to the heater’s temperature controls and set them down to the lowest possible setting. Turn the main gas valve or regulator valve off. This controls the gas flow into your water heater. Wait about 15 minutes for any lingering gas to dissipate.

The pilot lights in older water heaters will need to be manually lit with a match or wand lighter. If you have a newer system, it likely has its own igniter. Turn the gas valve to the pilot setting so the gas can begin flowing to the pilot. If your gas valve doesn’t have this setting, there may be a red control button near the valve that can be held down.

While holding the button/valve down, light the pilot light. It may be helpful to have a second person with you to shine a flashlight into the tank. If you have a newer model, you’ll need to press the igniter switch. This button will make a repetitive clicking noise as it lights the pilot. With older models, you’ll have to reach in and hold a flame to the burner.

Keep holding down the button or valve for about a minute after you light the pilot. If your pilot stays lit, you can then turn the main gas valve back on. Reigniting the main burner will allow the tank to once again produce hot water. Adjust your temperature settings as needed.

When to Rely on Experts

After trying to reignite your water heater pilot light, there’s always a chance that it doesn’t stay on. One of the most common causes behind pilot light issues is the thermocouple. This thick copper wire is responsible for turning off the gas supply if the pilot light goes out. However, once the component becomes dirty or damaged, it will actually turn out the pilot light.

While some pilot light issues can be as simple as a draft or ventilation problem, it’s always possible that parts are malfunctioning in your unit. If you’re struggling with frequent pilot light issues, call a professional plumber for repairs. You never want to risk a water heater issue turning into a natural gas leak. Relying on an expert is the best way to keep your water heater efficient and safe.

Your Professional Plumbing Team

Since 1950, Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling has offered superior plumbing and HVAC services in South Charleston, WV. Our thoroughly screened staff members always arrive on time and are ready to tackle jobs of all sizes. We’re a locally owned business that strives to be professional, honest and upfront about our prices. Our company is fully licensed and insured, making us your best choice for indoor comfort services in the area.

Count on our technicians to repair, maintain or install your heating or cooling system. Let us boost your indoor air quality or expertly clean your home’s ductwork. Along with HVAC services, we can also install your new faucets, toilets or water lines. Our team is ready to help you with your water heater issues, sewer lines and plumbing repair needs. Save money on your routine HVAC and plumbing services by checking out our thrifty seasonal coupons. Call Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling today to schedule your appointment in Kanawha Valley.

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