How to Reignite Your Water Heater's Pilot Light

Water Heater's Pilot Light
The pilot light went out on your gas water heater. Now what? Before you start envisioning cold showers and piles of dirty dishes and laundry, use these tips to help you learn how to reignite a water heater quickly. Keep reading for expert tips to help you get your water heater up and running again, so you can get back to hot showers and dish washing as usual.

Do You Need to Learn How to Reignite a Water Heater?

A water heater tends to be a household device that is out of sight and out of mind - that is, until it is no longer doing its job! Chances are you haven’t given much thought to the type of water heater you have. Here’s how to determine if you even need to reignite your water heater.

  • You will not need to reignite the water heater if you have an electric model. There’s no gas or pilot light involved in electric water heaters. If the power to your electric water heater is off, you may have an electrical issue requiring professional assistance.
  • You will not need to reignite the water heater if you have a newer model equipped with an automatic pilot light.
  • You will need to reignite a gas water heater that does not light automatically.

How to Reignite a Gas Water Heater in 7 Steps

If you know you do have a gas-powered water heater, start by reading the instructions in the user manual for relighting the pilot light. Additionally, gas water heaters often have instructions posted on the outside of the tank. If you don’t have the owner’s manual and there are no instructions on the tank, proceed with the following steps:

  1. Open the door or cover that is protecting the pilot light access. This is typically located under the gas valve, although some models will have an open gap where you can see the pilot light burning. If your water heater does not have an open gap, it is sealed burner assembly. DO NOT attempt to remove the cover. A sealed burner assembly or Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) unit prevents the ignition of flammable vapors outside the water heater.
  2. Use a flashlight or headlamp to locate the burner. You will find two small gas tubes leading to the burner.
  3. Gently turn the gas knob to the “Pilot” setting and hold it down. This step initiates a flow of gas, which enables you to light the flame. If your model has a separate button for pilot mode, press and hold it down.
  4. While holding the gas knob or button down, light the pilot. Depending on the model of water heater you have, you may have a red or black igniting button, or you may need to light it manually with a long lighter.
  5. Once the flame ignites, continue holding the knob or button down for a full minute before slowly releasing it to make sure the pilot light remains lit.
  6. Turn the gas knob to the “On” setting and listen for the “whump” sound or a whooshing noise coming from the burner igniting.
  7. Once ignited, replace the cover to the pilot light access.

Need Help with Your Hot Water Heater? Mr. Rooter® Plumbing Can Help

Sometimes it’s easier to turn to knowledgeable plumbing professionals to get the help you need with your water heater. Whether you can’t get the pilot to light or you are struggling to adjust the water temperature, your local team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing is ready to provide assistance. Call us to schedule plumbing services or get an estimate online.