A pilot light is the small flame located at the base of a hot water heater that helps to regulate the temperature of the water inside. This flame does not provide much heat on its own, but it serves as an ignition source for the more intense gas burner that actually heats up the water.
The pilot light is a small but vital component as it keeps the water in a safe range, preventing it from becoming too hot or too cold. This flame also ensures that there is always a steady supply of gas reaching the burner, reducing any risk of sudden and potentially dangerous malfunctions. Overall, the pilot light plays an essential role in maintaining safe and reliable hot water service in homes and businesses.
This is why it can be a real pain when your hot water heater pilot light goes out. While you may think this issue only requires a simple DIY fix, it’s often more challenging than it appears. But continue reading because in this article we’ll discuss how to check your pilot light and what steps to take to get it back in working condition.
Why Would A Hot Water Heater Pilot Light Go Out?
There’s several possible causes for why a hot water heater pilot light will go out, including:
- A dirty pilot tube.
- Issues with the thermocouple.
- The flex tube has blockages or kinks.
- Problems with the main control valve.
- A shift in temperature or a decrease in air pressure around the hot water heater, as these can both interfere with the thermal properties of the flame.
- Issues with the hot water heater itself, such as poor ventilation or low fuel levels, may contribute to an extinguished hot water heater pilot light.
- Aging hot water heaters are more prone to experiencing pilot light failures due to wear and tear on the system components.
- Other potential causes include fluctuations in gas pressure or electrical problems in the hot water heater’s fan and circuit board.
How To Check Hot Water Heater Pilot Light
In order to check the pilot light on a hot water heater, you’ll need to turn off the power supply for the unit. In most cases, you can find this switch on the breaker box. Once you have turned off the power, it’s important to let the water heater cool down completely before proceeding. This will help ensure your safety as well as prevent damage to any delicate parts of the unit.
Once you have ensured that the unit is cool, locate and open the control valve for your hot water heater. This may be located near or at the bottom of the tank, depending on your specific model. Once you have found and opened this valve, you should be able to see a small blue flame burning inside of it. If this flame is not present and lit, then your pilot light is out and that’s the reason you don’t have any hot water.
How to Fix Hot Water Heater Pilot Light?
The first thing you can try when you find that your pilot light is out, is relighting the flame. But before you do this, locate the gas shut-off knob and make sure it’s set to “Off”. Then give it a few minutes for the gas to dissolve. After that you can remove the access panel to the burner and turn the knob to “pilot” to start the flow of gas – press and hold down the knob.
Some water heaters will have an “igniting” button that you can press while holding down the knob. If you don’t have an igniting button, use a long lighter to light the pilot while holding down the knob. If you are able to successfully light the pilot, release the gas knob and turn it to “On”.
Hot Water Heater Pilot Light Will Not Ignite
If attempting to relight your pilot light doesn’t work, or if it goes out again, you’ve likely got a more complicated issue going on. Typically, the most common causes are an issue with the thermocouple, tubes, or control valve. There are ways to check these parts and replace them, but if you don’t have experience dealing with gas or wiring, it’s best to call in a professional plumber for help.
A plumber will know the exact steps to take in order to safely check, repair, and replace any of these components. If you’re looking for a plumber in the Hampton Roads area, call us here at Newman’s Plumbing. We offer 24/7 emergency services, so you can be sure that one of our experienced plumbing technicians will be available to help. Contact us today at 757-465-0883.