Water Heater Pilot Light

Step by step guide for lighting a water heater pilot light.

This guide on this page is for lighting the pilot on older style water heaters.




Older style heaters will have an
access panel at the bottom of
the tank.The pilot can be lit with
a match.

Newer style water heaters have a
sealed burner compartment and the
pilot is lit with a push button spark
generator.

If you have a new style water heater
go to hot water heater pilot light
for lighting instructions.


Lighting the pilot light on older style water heaters.

Safety First
Stand beside your water heater. Do you smell gas? Now kneel down next to the gas/control valve. If you don't smell gas your ready to light your pilot light.If you smell gas call your gas supplier right away.


older style gas water heater

This is an older style gas
water heater.






Adjust temperature control on gas valve

Turn the temperature control
knob to the lowest setting.





Turn control knob to off setting

Turn the on/off control
knob to the the pilot setting.





Remove water heater access panal

Remove both the outer
and inner access panels.





press pilot control button

Press and hold the water heater pilot button down.

Your gas valve/thermostat may look different from the one
in the picture but they all work the same.

Some models don't have a pilot button. The on/off control knob itself is pressed down when it is set on pilot.


Light the pilot while holding the control button down

The smaller silver tube coming out of the bottom of the gas control valve is the pilot supply tube.

Follow it to the end with a match and light the pilot.

Continue to hold the pilot button down for 20 to 30 seconds after the pilot is lit.

Slowly release the button. The pilot should stay lit. If it goes out re-light it and hold the button down a little longer.

If your gas has been turned off or if you have ran out of gas you will need to hold the pilot button down until all the air is out of the line.

If after lighting your hot water heater pilot light it goes out again or if it won't stay lit, you may need to check your water heater thermocouple.


Pilot lit, hold button down for 30 seconds

Ok got your water heater pilot lit? Great!

Don't fire up your burner yet.

A lot of people have been burned
(usually in the face and eyes)
because of blowback/rollout
from the burner.

This is usually caused by rust falling off of the bottom of the tank and clogging the burner and/or the orifice. Gas will build up in the burner chamber before it reaches the pilot . The results is flame rolling out of the access opening when the burner is fired.

Never fire your burner with the access panels off.

Replace both the inner and outer access panels.

Turn the on/off control knob to the on position.

Turn the temperature control knob to the desired setting.

You should hear your burner fire up.


Why did my water heater pilot light go out?

The most likely reason will be the thermocouple.

A drafty room such as a garage. Attic fans have been known to pull
air across the burner chamber and put out a pilot light.
Down draft entering the vent ( on a windy day ).

The pilot orifice is clogged.

The water heater gas valve is bad.



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