Gas Water Heater Not Lighting

Share This Post

Pilot Light Wont Stay Lit Still

Gas Water Heater Pilot Not Lighting? Gas Water Heater Troubleshooting

If you have tried everything and you pilot light still wont stay lit, you may want to consult with a professional plumber. On Great Pros, our network of plumbers are experts with gas water heaters and wont have any problem assisting you. All professionals are properly licensed, bonded, insured, and background checked so trust will never be an issue.

What Is A Pilot Light And How Does It Work

A pilot light is a small device designed to provide the flame and light the gas coming out of the gas valve and main burner. It is common on fireplaces and older/cheaper furnaces and water heaters.

A pilot light is always burning while using a small amount of gas either a water heater is running or not. Once there is a need for heating , a gas control valve releases the gas into the main burner, and the pilot light ignites the gas.

Except lighting the gas burner, the pilot is used to heat the thermocouple, creating electricity small enough to hold the electromagnetic valve inside the gas control valve open so that the gas can flow. If there is no pilot light or it is blown out, the tip of the thermocouple cools off and stops generating electricity, so the gas valve closes, and the unit shuts off. Every gas appliance is equipped with similar safety devices, prevent gas from leaking inside the house.

The pilot is widely used due to its proven and reliable work, but its main disadvantage is wasting gas when not working.

To prevent problems with the water heater pilot light, it is crucial to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions, especially how to maintain the gas water heaters and how to light the pilot.

Note: Repairing a pilot light shouldn’t be complicated, but if you don’t have the right tools or you lack skills and need any assistance, contact a professional plumber.

– Find Plumbers In Your Area –

Visual inspection

Manual Vs Electric Valve Controls

The thermocouple in manual units, and thermo-pile in electric units, measure the temperature at the pilot light to ensure that the flame is working. To switch between the pilot light and full heating mode, the gas valve needs to open and shut. Older or low-end appliances, the gas valve might be manual.

Also Check: Hot Water Heater Wiring Diagram

Boiler Pilot Light: Where It Is And What Does It Do

The pilot light in your boiler is essential for creating heat. The pilot burns continuously so it can ignite the gas when the gas valve is opened. When this happens, your boiler begins to heat the water, which is then redistributed for warmth throughout your home. In the event that your pilot light goes out, your boiler and central heating will not function.

The pilot light is located inside your boiler across from the gas valve. The boiler manual should give you a better understanding of where each part is located.

Why Is My Gas Working But Not Hot Water

Espanol Spanish Marey Power Gas Tankless Water Heater Troubleshooting ...

Check if the pilot light is staying lit.

If the flame keeps going out, then you might need to clean or unclog the orifice.

If that didnt help, try resetting the high-limit switch.

Finally, a defective thermocouple might be to blame. You might have to replace the element thankfully, its relatively inexpensive.

Recommended Reading: Why Is My Home Ac Not Blowing Cold Air

The Issue: Foul Water Odors

The appearance of the water isn’t the only thing you should be concerned with. If you notice a strong odor coming from the water, then it’s likely that there is an issue with the water heater. Sewage smells indicate the presence of bacteria growing inside the water tank, which means every time you use the hot water, anywhere in the home, it’s already contaminated. Flushing the water tank thoroughly can resolve this problem, though you may also need to have the anode rode replaced to reduce corrosion and kill anaerobic bacteria.

The water may also smell like sulfur. A slight sulfuric scent typically means that the pilot light has gone out and it needs to be relit, but a very strong scent may indicate that there is a problem with the gas line. If this occurs, turn off the gas water heater and do your best to safely ventilate the area before calling a plumber and the gas utility company. It’s recommended to leave the area until the leak has been repaired.

How To Light A Gas Water Heater With A Lighter

How To Light A Gas Water Heater With A Lighter. Here heres how to light the pilot light on a rheem gas water heater. In some cases, your hot water heater will have a separate pilot button.

The gas hot water heater will light but the flame is. Open the window in the room where your wall heater is located. Then release it slowly, and make sure the light is still lit.


Most newer models of gas water heaters have a simple ignition switch. Most water heaters have the word pilot.


This causes the gas valve to provide enough gas to light the pilot light with. Customer reply replied 2 day ago.


The way to turn the gas off is by turning the knob on the pilot light to the off position. When the pilot light goes out, you should know how to light a gas water heater pilot.


Several factors can cause the pilot light to go off. Can you manually light a gas water heater?


Turn off the gas and open the pilot light access door/cover. The way to turn the gas off is by turning the knob on the pilot light to the off position.

You May Like: Freon For Home Ac Unit

Gas Heater Pilot Light Troubleshooting: What To Do Before You Call The Professionals

Over 47% of American households rely on a gas heater to keep them warm through winter.

Natural gas heaters all have a pilot light that ignites the gas burner. The pilot light must be lit for the gas heater to create heat.

So, what are you to do when the pilot light goes out? There are several gas heater pilot light troubleshooting tips you should know. Read on to find out what they are.

How To Check If Your Pilot Light Is Out

Top 10 Gas Water Heater Pilot Light Problems! Won’t Light, Won’t Stay Lit!

Visually checking for a flame is worth doing, even if your gas control valve indicates there’s an issue with the pilot light. You’ll typically find the water heater’s burner chamber door below the gas control valve at the bottom of the unit.

Depending upon your water heater, you’ll need to either remove the door or open it in order to view the burner chamber and the pilot light tube. If you see a flame, the problem isn’t with the pilot light. However, if you don’t, then the pilot light has gone out.

You May Like: Tankless Water Heater Cost Installed

The Thermostat Could Be Faulty

Check the wires around the thermostat as well as where they are connected to see if anything appears to be loose or disconnected. The circuit board needs replacing due to faulty wiring in the system. If there is no power going to your outlet, it will be a wiring or thermostat problem.

Natural Gas Safety Concerns

Remember there is a potential danger with the gas. Natural and propane gas can explode. Never attempt a repair unless you have turned the gas off and are thoroughly familiar with safe working practices.

WARNING!! Natural Gas Can Explode! Make Sure the Gas Is OFF!!! The Hot Water Can Be VERY HOT!!! WARNING!!!

A gas leak is an entirely different problem than a broken water heater. If you smell gas, take immediate safety precautions, which include leaving the premises and calling the gas company. See the article ‘Natural Gas Safety Tips‘ for more information.

Recommended Reading: Ac Stopped Blowing Cold Air Car

Water Heater Gas Valve Troubleshooting

Two main types of water heater gas valves are commonly used on storage water heaters: mechanical and electronic. These two valves are thoroughly discussed in the following video and the video at the top of this article.

If youre a service professional or an avid do-it-yourselfer, and you want to understand the differences between classic mechanical gas valves and a newer electronic gas valve, watch the video here. It also discusses how to diagnose and handle problems.

Mechanical gas valve.

Electronic gas valve. Many newer water heaters use a new electronic control valve called the Honeywell Smart Controller. Helpful for diagnostics, it has blinking lights that inform you or the service person about the water heaters status.

As you might expect, this controller is more expensive than a mechanical gas valve, as are its replacement parts. Replacement of this may cost $300 to $400, installed.

When To Call A Professional Plumber

Richmond water heater not lighting up pilot light (I followed the ...

It’s never a bad idea to call a professional plumber out to take a look at your water heater. While they’re checking on your pilot light, they can also perform routine maintenance on your system. This is something that experts recommend you do at least once a year to avoid sediment build-up and corrosion, and proper maintenance will extend the service life of your water heater.

That being said, it’s typically not necessary to call a professional plumber out to light a pilot light. The solution to this problem is usually as simple as following the steps shown above.

However, you may want some help if you think the issue is coming from your water heater’s thermocouple. A professional plumber will be able to replace or repair your thermocouple fairly easily for you.

Find a Local Plumber

You May Like: Best Heated Socks For Skiing

The Pilot Light Has Gone Out Because Theres Sediment In The Tank

If your water heater pilot light goes out and theres no gas coming out of it, you might have sediment in your pilot light tank. Sediment is caused by minerals in your water, and it can build up in your pilot light tank and clog up the opening that lets gas into the pilot light. To clean out the pilot light tank, you can use a small brush or a folded-up piece of paper. If you dont clean out the sediment, it can keep building up and clog up your pilot light.

Difference Between Thermopiles And Thermocouples

Manual valves use whats called a thermocouple. The thermocouple senses heat from the pilot light. If the pilot light burns out, the thermocouple senses a lack of heat and sparks the pilot light. Newer or higher-end appliances may use an electric gas valve controller. These controllers use whats called a thermo-pile.

You May Like: In Wall Heat And Ac Units

Furnace Pilot Light: Where It Is And What Does It Do

The pilot light on a gas furnace is very important for creating heat in old furnaces. This continuously burning flame will ignite the gas, when the gas valve opens. Then, this heat warms the air brought into your furnace, which will be redistributed throughout your home. If your pilot light is out, you may experience your furnace blowing cold air. The pilot light is one of many possible reasons for why your furnace won’t turn on. Explore more reasons for why your furnace won’t turn on here!

You can locate the pilot light by following the gas line into your furnace. The gas valve should have a switch that indicates whether the pilot light is on or off. From there, you should see a small tube that leads from the gas valve to the burner. Follow that small tube and you should find the location of the pilot light.

Lighting A Sealed Combustion Pilot

RV Water Heater Not Igniting Or Staying Lit – Troubleshoot – RV Maintenance And Cleaning

We’ll start with the more modern sealed combustion type hot water tank system. With a sealed combustion chamber, there is no need to access the burner assembly. Everything you need to light this pilot is mounted right to the burner control module and there is a looking glass in the access panel that you can use to visually verify ignition. This access is bolted shut for a reason and should only be accessed by a licensed professional.

  • Turn the gas control knob on top to the “pilot” position.
  • Press and hold down the control knob itself to allow gas flow.
  • Press the electronic spark button located on or mounted to your control module until you hear it click. You may need to click it a few times before the pilot is lit as there may be a bit of air in the line that takes a few seconds to “bleed” out.
  • Visually confirm ignition and keep holding down the knob for approximately 30-45 seconds so that the pilot can heat up the thermocouple enough to confirm ignition to the thermostat in the control module. If the thermocouple doesn’t heat up enough, the pilot will go back out.
  • Let go of the control knob and visually confirm that the pilot stayed lit.
  • Turn the gas control knob to the “on” position. If the pilot was out long enough for the water temperature to cool, the burners should kick on within seconds. If the water hasn’t cooled, there may be no call for the burners to come on. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t fire up right away.
  • Don’t Miss: Precision Air Heating And Cooling

    Find Out What Could Be Behind Your Latest Water Heater Malfunction

    Timothy Dale is a home repair expert and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience. He is skilled in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional plumbing, electrical, carpentry, installation, renovations, and project management.

    Deane Biermeier is an expert contractor with nearly 30 years of experience in all types of home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. He is a certified lead carpenter and also holds a certification from the EPA. Deane is a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board.

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    One of the most important appliances in any home is the water heater. This device is responsible for heating the water for the entire home, meaning that if the water heater isn’t working correctly you may not be able to shower, wash the dishes, or wash a load of laundry until the problem is resolved.

    A gas water heater works by burning natural gas to provide enough heat to warm up the water in the tank. Depending on the level that the thermostat is set to, the water inside the tank can quickly climb to scalding temperatures, so you need to be careful when assessing any problems with the water heater. Take a look at these common reasons a gas water heater may not be working for help resolving any current or future problems.

    What Color Should The Flame Be On A Gas Water Heater

    The flame on your gas water heater should always burn blue. A yellow or orange flame can indicate that the natural gas isnt burning as intended, and you will need to fix it. Orange flames can set off your carbon monoxide detector, and the excess carbon monoxide isnt safe to breathe.

    It is okay if you notice small spots and flares of yellow in your gas water heaters flame. A blue flame is a sign that you have the right temperature, proper ventilation, and a healthy burner. Inspect your burner when it is off to make sure that nothing obstructs the flame nozzle, and remove any debris to restore the blue flame.

    You May Like: Ao Smith Signature Water Heater

    A Damaged Control Valve

    While the issues mentioned above are all fairly easy to figure out and fix, a damaged control valve can be a pretty serious problem. If your pilot light isnt working, be sure to look into all of the above issues first before jumping to the control valve.

    If you cant seem to find the problem, then chances are its a faulty control valve. Unfortunately, this can be quite an expensive issue to repair. It is not an easy job either. The only way to fix this is through replacing the control valve something that is best done by a professional.

    Determining The Thermocouple Issue If Its Not Broken

    No hot water. Burner On light not lighting up and water not heating ...

    However, your thermocouple may not necessarily be broken. If its dirty, then the electric current from the pilot may be disrupted and leads to a gas outage. This is an easy fix. Heres how to clean your thermocouple:

    First, locate the thermocouple to clean it using a piece of sandpaper. Always remember to shut off the gas before you start cleaning and to make sure that your thermocouple is cool.

    If your attempt at water heater thermocouple cleaning doesnt fix the problem, the issue may be that its bent. When its bent to a certain extent away from the pilot light, its no longer functional because it wont be able to detect the heat.

    To fix this is also simple: bend the thermocouple back into its original position. Make sure to bend the thermocouple back so its close enough to the pilot flame so it lightly touches the thermocouple. If this is the problem, in most cases, its easily resolvable with the above steps.

    You May Like: How Much For An Ac Unit

    How To Light A Gas Water Heater Pilot Light

    If your gas water heater has an electronic ignition system, you should never attempt to light it by hand. The procedure for properly lighting a pilot light will vary based on the water heater you have. Therefore, you should always consult the instructions from your manufacturer. However, the most standard procedure for lighting a gas water heater pilot light is as follows:

  • Turn the thermostat to its lowest possible setting.
  • Turn the control knob to the OFF position. In some instances, you may need to push the knob down in order to turn it from Pilot to OFF.
  • Wait for a few moments to clear out any gases in the lines.
  • Switch the knob back to the Pilot position.
  • Press and hold down on the gas control knob, or pilot set button.
  • At the same time as youre holding down the pilot switch, press on the piezo igniter. When you click the igniter, you should hear a click sound, indicating the spark igniting the pilot.
  • Once the pilot light is on, continue pressing down on the pilot switch for a minute to allow the flame to heat up the thermocouple.
  • Then, release the knob and it should pop back up.
  • Turn the control knob to the ON position.
  • Set your thermostat to the desired temperature.
  • Again, this process may vary slightly based on the make and model of your water heater. To properly and safely light your pilot light, always check the instructions first.

    Related Posts