How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

A water heater is necessary for every home, supplying hot water for various uses such as showering, laundering clothes, cooking, and cleaning. While contemporary water heaters are generally secure and dependable, the pilot light may go out, causing the burner to cease working. A pilot light is a tiny spark that constantly fires to start the burner when needed. Your water heater will not work if the pilot light goes out, and you must relight it to get hot water. This guide provides detailed steps to safely and effectively light a water heater pilot.

Safety Precautions and Measures

Safety precautions with water heaters

Before relighting the pilot light, the following safety measures must be taken to prevent accidents and ensure your safety.

1. Turn Off the Gas Supply

Turn off the heater’s gas source before taking any action. It would be best if you moved the gas valve clockwise to turn off the gas, and it is typically found close to the heater’s bottom. Check your owner’s manual or contact a licensed electrician to clarify the gas outlet’s location.

2. Detect Gas Leakage

Check for any leakage in the gas pipe and connections before relighting the pilot light. If you scent gas or suspect a leak, switch off the gas supply immediately, open the windows and doors to air the room, and leave home quickly because gas leaks are hazardous and can result in fires. Before relighting the pilot light, have a qualified expert check the gas line and connections for leakage and make any necessary repairs.

3. Allow the Fumes to Escape

Before trying to relight the pilot light after turning off the gas source, give the gas time to disperse for about five minutes. By doing this, gas buildup-related mishaps will be reduced.

4. Wear Safety Equipment

It’s crucial to put on safety clothing, such as mitts, eyewear, and long arms when working with gas equipment. Doing this will shield you from any gas escapes or flames while the fire is lit.

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Steps to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

Light a Water Heater Pilot Light

Once you’ve taken the safety precautions, you’re ready to turn on the water heater pilot light. Follow the steps below to illuminate the water heater pilot light:

Step 1: Locate the Pilot Light

A metal plate or cap at the foot of the radiator typically hides the pilot light. Search for a tiny metal conduit that joins to the heater’s gas control valve, which is generally found at the front. The thermocouple, which detects the pilot light blaze and instructs the gas valve to stay open, is attached to this metal tube containing the pilot light.

Step 2: Eliminate the Cover

Once the pilot light is found, remove the metal cover covering it. You may need a tool or tweezers to remove any fasteners or clamps holding the lid in position. Avoid causing harm to the body or the region around it, as this could interfere with the heater’s function.

Step 3: Turn the Gas Control Knob to Pilot

After removing the cover, locate the gas control lever, which is typically close to the pilot light. Three settings are available on the gas control knob: “Off,” “Pilot,” and “On.” Gas can now cross to the pilot lamp by turning the handle to the “Pilot” setting. As the gas begins to circulate, you should hear a gurgling sound.

Step 4: Activate the Pilot Button

The starter switch should then be pressed. It is typically close to the gas control dial. The pilot light is ignited by gas flowing into it after the button has been pressed. Consult your owner’s guide for clarification on the pilot switch’s location.

Step 5: Light the Pilot Light

Light the pilot light by keeping the spark close to the pilot opening with a long lighter or matchstick. The pilot component has a tiny metal rod sticking out of it called the pilot opening. Once the pilot light starts to remain illuminated on its own, hold the flame constant for about 30 seconds. The metal conduit should not be touched because it may be warmed.

Step 6: Release the Pilot Button

Release the pilot button once the pilot light continues to burn. Now that the pilot light spark has been detected, the thermocouple should tell the gas outlet to stay open.

Step 7: Turn the Gas Control Knob to On

Turn the gas control dial to the “On” setting once the pilot light has maintained a steady flame. By doing this, gas will be able to reach the stove and warm the water. The radiator should start to emit heat, and you should hear the flame spark.

Step 8: Replace the Cover

Replace the metal cover over the pilot light at this point and fasten it with clamps or screws. Verify that the body is firmly positioned and not blocking the pilot light.

Step 9: Check for Proper Operation

After reigniting the spark, evaluate the heater’s efficiency. Ensure the heater isn’t producing any strange noises or leaking and the water is boiling up as it should. Immediately turn off the gas supply and consult an expert with a license if problems remain.


Relighting the pilot light of a water heater may appear to be a straightforward task, but it requires caution and attention to safety precautions. Before relighting the pilot light, turn off the gas supply, check for gas leakage, and let the gas dissipate. Follow the step-by-step instructions attentively and wear protective clothing to prevent accidents and ensure safety.

Contact a licensed plumber for assistance if you need more confidence in relighting the pilot light. Following these steps, you can safely and effectively reignite the pilot light on your water heater and resume enjoying hot water.

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Why Is My Gas Heater Not Igniting?

If the gas furnace in your water heater starts but does not fire, it is likely due to a faulty, damaged, or dirty igniter/sensor. It’s a very common furnace problem, for which you can try cleaning the sensor and replacing the igniter.

Why Does My Hot Water Heater Igniter Not Ignite?

There can be many reasons why the ignitor on your hot water heater won’t light. Like faulty igniter, lack of gas supply, dirty burner or igniter, electrical problems, etc.

Can I Light My Furnace Manually?

If your water heater does not have a button, or the button fails, depress the regulator valve and hold a grill lighter or long match to the pilot light valve until the pilot ignites. Press and hold the button for one minute to ensure the light stays on.

How to Light a Gas Water Heater?

If your gas water heater needs to be lit manually, hold the burning tip of a long barbeque lighter up to the pilot while continuing to hold down the regulator knob. Hold the lighter to the pilot until it burns, then remove the lighter.

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