Steps for Relighting the Pilot Light on Your Gas Hot Water Heater

Gas hot water heaters are equipped with a pilot light. This flame stays constantly lit, and when your hot water heater turns on, the pilot light ignites the burner that will then heat your water. 

Hot water heater pilot lights can go out for different reasons, such as a temporary change in the gas pressure. When this happens occasionally, it generally is not a problem, but you will need to know how to relight your pilot light in order for your hot water heater to resume heating water.

How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

Depending on the setup for your hot water heater, relighting a pilot light is often a DIY job that you can do yourself. But because you are working with gas power, which can be dangerous if done incorrectly, it is better to be safe and contact an NYC licensed master plumber if you have any doubts about the process.

Before you take any steps to troubleshoot your hot water heater or relight the pilot, be sure that there are no gas leaks. If you smell a sulfuric odor around your hot water heater or notice signs of physical damage to the water heater or connecting pipes, you should call a plumber in NYC instead to have them assess and repair the problem since trying to relate your pilot late when gas fumes are present can be extremely dangerous.

When you notice you are no longer getting hot water in your home and you suspect the pilot light, the first step is to check if the pilot light is still burning. On different models of hot water heaters, you may be able to view the burner through the door. Otherwise, you will need to remove the door first to check. You should see a small flame burning. If there is no flame, it is time to relight your pilot light. To do this:

  • Shut off the Gas – Start by turning off the gas completely and waiting approximately 10 minutes. This ensures no extra gas is in the air that might light.
  • Turn the Gas Control Valve – You want to set the control valve to the “Pilot” setting where it will supply enough gas to get the flame lit. On some hot water heaters, there may be a button instead of a knob.
  • Push in the Knob – Pushing in the know or button will start the flow of gas so that you can relight the pilot.
  • Light the Pilot – Using a long lighter or a match, hold a flame to the pilot light where it will catch the gas and relight your water heater. On newer water heaters, there may be an electric spark igniter that you can press instead of manually lighting it.
  • Continue Supplying Gas – After the light is lit, which you should be able to visually see, hold down the gas knob for about 30 more seconds to continue supplying gas while thermal coupling takes place.
  • Turn the Knob to the On Position – As long as the light stays lit, you can turn the knob back into the on operating position and your hot water heater should be good to go once again.

On a water heater that uses a pilot light, it is usual that the light will go out every once in a while. But if you find that you are constantly relighting your pilot light, there could be a problem with the water heater or gas supply that needs the professional assistance of a plumber.

Empire Plumbing can identify any issues with your gas piping system or gas appliances that are preventing them from working correctly. We offer gas pipe repair services to keep appliances functioning safely and efficiently. To get started with gas piping system repair, contact our team if you are having ongoing problems with your gas hot water heater in NYC.

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