How to Light Your Water Heater

If your hot water heater is powered by gas and the water coming out of your faucet is cold, your pilot light may not be lit. Luckily, it is fairly easy to reignite your Cape Coral home water heater’s pilot light on your own without consulting a professional. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to relight your pilot light.

Cape Coral, FL lighting-water-heaters1. Examine your Pilot Light and Make Sure Everything is Safe

Before you begin the process of relighting the pilot light, you should assess the situation and make sure that the light is actually out. To get to the pilot light, you may need to remove the access panel, which is located at the bottom of the tank.

If you open the access panel and you do not see a flame burning, then the pilot light is probably out. Some newer pilot lights do not have a removable access panel, but you are able to see the pilot light through a piece of glass located in the same area.

The next thing you should do when examining the water heater is make sure that no gas is leaking from it. It is extremely dangerous to reignite your pilot light if there is gas leaking from the water heater. To check for gas leaks, just kneel next to your water heater and try to sniff out any unusual smells. Be sure to sniff around the valves and the side of the tank.

Although natural gas, which is the type of gas used in water heaters, is odorless, gas companies add something called mercaptan to it to make sure leaks are detectable.

If you have a leak, it should smell like rotten eggs. You should also listen for hissing sounds, as these can also be a sign that gas is leaking from your Cape Coral home water heater. If you notice either of these things, do not proceed with lighting the pilot light.

If you have ensured that there is no gas leaking and that the pilot light is out, you can then start getting ready to reignite the light. Before you begin, you can check the inside door of your water heater for instructions on how to ignite the pilot light. Each water heater may be different, so you will want to have these directions handy just in case there are special steps you need to follow.

2. Prepare the Water Heater to be Relit

Just as it is important to examine your water heater to ensure everything is safe, it is also important to take steps to prepare the pilot light to be relit. You will want to begin by setting the temperature control gage to the lowest setting. This control is usually on a box that is located on the outside of the water heater tank.

The next thing you need to do is find the regulator valve and turn it off. This valve is typically located near the temperature control gage, and it regulates how much gas flows to the pilot burner, which is located under the water tank. After you have switched the knob out, wait about 10 minutes so that any residual gas still in the tank can clear out.

After you have switched everything off, the next thing you should do is determine what kind of water heater you have. Most water heaters are considered either “new” or “old.” If your water heater is old, you will probably need to have your own flame handy in order to relight it. Newer tanks come with a pilot light igniter built in, and they will have a red igniter button that is located near the temperature regulator button.

If your water heater is older and you need to light it with your own flame source, you will want to find a lighter with a long neck. Do not attempt to light it with a match because your fingers will be too close to the flame, and you will risk burning yourself.

After you have prepared the water heater, you will need to find the pilot. It is typically located at the bottom of a silver tube near the control valve.

3. Switch the Gas Valve to Pilot and Light the Pilot Burner

Before you light the pilot, you must turn the gas valve to pilot and then push down on it. This turns on the gas supply for the pilot light. Then, while continuing to hold down the pilot gas valve, use a lighter to quickly light the pilot light again.

If your water tank has a built-in ignition switch, just press the switch, and you should hear a clicking noise that will continue until the light has been lit. You may need to ask someone else to help you, since you will need to be using both hands to ignite the pilot light.

Cape Cora, FL lighting-water-heaters-2After the light has been lit, keep holding down the gas valve for about a minute. This helps to heat the thermocouple, which shuts off the gas when the pilot light goes out. After a minute, release the valve and wait to see if the pilot light stays lit.

4. Put the Access Panels Back and Reignite the Main Burner

Once you have ensured that the pilot light will stay lit, you can put back the access panel if you had to remove it. Then, turn the main gas valve back to on and adjust the temperature of the heater to the one you desire; 49 degrees Celsius is the temperature that is recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

It is fairly easy to relight your pilot on your own without consulting a professional, but if you encounter any problems as you execute any of these steps, be sure to speak with an expert.

Get advice from one of the professionals at Advanced Plumbing & Installations, Inc. by calling (239) 471-4475, serving your Cape Coral, FL area.