Water Heater Pilot Keeps Going Out

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A Faulty Thermocouple Is The Reason Your Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

Water Heater pilot light keeps going out – Honeywell controller problems. Easy fix

Faulty thermocouple on water heater

The thermocouple detects when your pilot light is burning. This copper rod is a safety feature that will shut down the heater’s gas supply if your water heater pilot light goes out. Due to natural wear and tear, a thermocouple can get bent out of position, malfunction, become damaged, or coated in dirt or a build up of carbon. In any of these scenarios, the thermocouple will be unable to accurately sense the pilot light and consequently stop the heating operation.

Why Does My Water Heater Pilot Light Go Out

Your water heater is probably something you take for granteduntilit malfunctions. If you are having problems with your water heater pilotlight going out, check these main culprits first.

1. Thermocouple The most common cause of the pilot light going out is a thicklooking copper wire called the thermocouple. It sits on the gas valveand is responsible for turning off the gas if the pilot light goes out.If the piece is faulty it tends to turn the pilot light off instead.

2. Draft Is your pilot light going out mainly on windy days? Is the lightingarea exposed to a draft? If the pilot light isnt properly shieldedfrom airflow, a draft can put it out.

3. Ventilation Your water heater should have its own vent out through theroof. Any issues with the stack can cause a backdraft of air to flow downand put out the pilot light. If this is the issue, you might want to havea professional come look at it. They can tell you if adding to the stackheight would help eliminate your problem.

4. Not enough air Just as too much air can cause problems with the pilot light,too little air can do the same. You pilot light is a flame, and as such,it needs air to continue to burn. So, if your water heater is in a poorlyventilated or stuffy area, your pilot light may go out. For instance,if the water heater is in an attic that has insufficient ventilation,the pilot light will go out.

The Location Of The Pilot Light

If you arent familiar with the structure of a water heater, you might not even be aware of the problem, or how to fix it.

When you look at your water heater, youll notice a cover on top of the water heater tank. Check around the cover for methods to lift the cover. You can also consult the instruction manual that came with the water heater.

A pilot light should be underneath the tank. If you dont have visual access to the pilot light, take a flashlight to inspect the inside of the tank.

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Why Does My Water Heaters Pilot Light Keep Going Out

Getting the cold shoulder from your shower? Youve discovered its because your water heaters pilot light has gone outagain. You keep lighting it, but it does not want to stay lit.

So, whats the problem?

There are two common sources.

1) Problems with the thermocoupleUsually, a problem with the thermocouple causes the pilot’s light to go out.The thermocouple is the small copper rod that the pilot light hits. The thermocouples job is to shut a gas safety valve if the pilot light goes out.Thats important because gas is always being supplied to the pilot to keep the flame lit. But if the pilot flame goes out, then the gas would still be released. After a while, the gas could collect in your home and become a health hazard.However, if theres an issue with the thermocouple, the safety valve will shut even if the flame is still lit.Use the schedule service button to get back in hot water!Common thermocouple problems include:

a) Dirt/soot on the thermocouple Any buildup on the thermocouple can block the flame, preventing it from being properly heated. To fix this, wait for the thermocouple to cool down and gently clean it with a wire brush or sandpaper.b) Thermocouple is bent The gas valve will shut if the thermocouple is bent away from the flame where the flame cant reach it. Wait for the thermocouple to cool down and bend it back.c) Damaged thermocouple If the above two arent the problem, the thermocouple may be malfunctioning and needs replacing.

Hot Water Keeps Turning Off Check The Pilot Light

Is It Dangerous If The Pilot Light Goes Out On The Water Heater?

There is nothing more frustrating when trying to run a hot bath than when your water heater keeps turning off. If your water heater pilot light will not stay lit, it is important to fix it immediately. There are many reasons your water heater igniter might turn itself off, but most often, when your water heater wont ignite, its due to a faulty thermocouple.

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What Is A Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a device that detects whether your pilot light is on by generating a heat-powered electrical current. If the thermocouple has cooled, it assumes that your water heater pilot light is off and your water heater wont ignite. A faulty thermocouple can cause problems with your water heater not staying lit or turning off by itself.

Replace The Gas Control Valve

If all of the above methods have failed to fix your problem, you most likely have a bad gas control valve. This is the worst problem to have since the valve is quite pricey, and it will most likely require a professional to replace.

If you would however like to give this a go, I will leave this video here to help.

And basically that is how to fix a water heater pilot that will not stay lit. I hope you enjoyed and are able to fix your water heater.

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Why Is There Still A Draft In My Room Even Though The Door Windows And Wall Cracks Are Sealed

Drafts can sometimes still exist in your home, even if youve already sealed everything up. If youre experiencing this, its likely due to how the air cools in your home.

Air by exterior walls and windows is dense and flows to the floor. This draws warm air higher in the room and creates a drafty flow throughout your house.

You can fix this problem by investing in heavier curtains and rearranging your furniture.

Your Pilot Tube Isnt Clean


Your pilot tube is what supplies the gas that your water heater needs to keep its flame going. When its dirty, it can get clogged, which stops the flow of gas. That can cause your flame to keep going out.

The solution is using a slender needle to unclog the tube. You may have to do this several times if the tube is especially dirty.

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Can I Use A Pilot Light Shield

Pilot light shields protect your pilot light from potential drafts. Because of this, they are not a bad idea to use if your pilot light keeps going out.

However, this is not a one-stop solution for all potential heater issues. Regardless of whether you buy one, we still recommend going through the list of potential problems above.

These solutions not only address your pilot light but can save you money on your heating as well. Suppose a draft is still traveling through your house. In that case, many automatic thermostats used in the modern era will crank up to address this issue.

Does My Home Really Need A Chimney Cap

If you live in an area with a temperate climate, then not having a chimney cap may not lead to many issues. But its always better to have one than to not have one.

Without a chimney cap, your home could be damaged by debris. And in heavy wind conditions, you could have a significant wind draft in your house without a chimney cap.

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Common Reasons Behind The Pilot Light Going Out

But the pilot light going out is not an uncommon problem. On the contrary, it usually develops with many older water heaters. The pilot light flame going out means that the burners wont ignite, and youll suffer the wrath of freezing, cold water. So here are a few common reasons which could be the culprits for your pilot light going out.

Faulty Thermocouple: The thermocouple, as explained above, exists to sense if the pilot light is lit. When it is not lit, the device shuts the gas supply off, preventing any danger and maintaining safety. However, the thermocouples in many older heaters start malfunctioning. A faulty thermocouple would shut off the gas supply to even a burning pilot light, which would result in cold water for you.

Dirty Thermocouple: Another thing that you must look out for is the buildup of dirt in your thermocouple since that would prove to be a hindrance for the thermocouple to sense the flame of the pilot light. Similar obstacles occur when the device is bent away from the flame, and the gas supply is shut off even then.

Insufficient Combustible Air: With a lack of combustible air, the pilot light of your water heater is likely to go out. This toes into the category of dangerous, since such situations may result in Carbon Monoxide buildup. This can happen when the water heaters location does not have enough combustible air, for example, in a utility closet. If the pilot light has gone, it would be better to check the situation.

Should I Ever Turn Off My Pilot Light

Do it Yourself

You should only have to turn off the pilot light if youre going on vacation or need to repair your water heater. By turning it off youll be saving yourself from any potential problems by leaving it on.

When you are repairing your water heater it is part of your safety protocols to turn off your pilot light and gas.

Other than vacations and repairs, there is never a reason it would be necessary to turn the pilot light off.

When your pilot light is running, it helps to ignite the gas that is released to heat up your water. Without it running at all times, youd have no way to get hot water in your home.

So, unless you are intentionally forcing everyone in your home to go without hot water, there is no reason not to have it on.

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Why Would A Hot Water Heater Keep Going Out

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In optimal working conditions, a water heater either warms the water in the storage tank and keep it ready for use, or it is a heat on demand type of heater. In both cases, the heating elements are kept warmed by a burner, which in turn is triggered by a pilot light. If the pilot keeps going out, the burner wont turn on and thus the water wont be heated, which makes troubleshooting an important aspect of water heater maintenance.

Your Thermocouple Is Dirty Broken Or Misaligned

The most common issue that causes your pilot light to go out continually relates to your thermocouple. Otherwise known as the flame sensor, the thermocouple automatically shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out.

When the thermocouple is dirty, broken, or misaligned, it cant see your flame. As a result, it is continually assuming that your pilot light is out. If this is happening, you first need to check on the thermocouples condition. If it seems dirty, start by cleaning it. If properly cleaned, it should be a copper-colored pipe connected to a tube.

If you need additional help determining a lousy thermocouple, check out our guide on making that determination. If you need to replace it, be sure to turn off the power and the gas. You should be able to loosen a series of nuts, bolts, or screws nearby the thermocouple and twist it off.

For more detailed instructions, consult your owners manual. If you wish to hire someone to do it for you, it will cost $150. You typically pay up to $30 for the part.

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Keeping The Pilot Light On

Wind can easily blow out your pilot light if the firebox cover or downdraft is affecting the flame. If thats not the issue, check your thermocouple, gas release valve, or ventilation system to see if there are additional problems. Thanks for reading and make sure to learn any related issues in the articles below!

Home » Water » Stopping Wind Blowing Out A Water Heaters Pilot Light

Check The Main Control Gas Valve

Water Heater Pilot Keeps Going out – CLEAN THE FILTER GRATE! Most common issue!

If you have tried all of the above repairs to fix your water heater with no luck, the issue may be the main control valve.

The main control valve is the most important part of the water heater, regulating both gas pressure and water pressure. This device provides a small amount of gas to the thermocouple until the pilot light ignites. It then provides a steady gas flow to the burner, keeping the flame alive.

If the main control valve is no longer functional, it will cut the gas supply from the burner, putting out the pilot light completely.

You cannot fix a faulty main control valve. Instead, replace the part completely.

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Fix Leaks Around Your Firebox Cover

Each water heater pilot light has a cover that protects it from any external elements. This cover is meant to lay directly flush with your water heater so that no air or other debris can get inside.

When youre having problems youll want to check all around your firebox cover to make sure there are no openings.

Even the smallest opening could allow wind to breeze right through, putting out your pilot light.

Take a screwdriver and see if it just needs to be tightened to stay flush. If your cover is bent and wont stay flush, youll need to bust out some furnace sealant.

The furnace sealant is made for extreme temps and specific materials are most commonly used in water heaters. It should be durable enough to hold for several years.

You can always remove it if you need to get to your pilot light for any reason.

Dirty Or Damaged Thermocouple Explains Why Pilot Light Keep Going Out

A faulty, misaligned, dirty, or damaged thermocouple is often the culprit behind your pilot light going out. The thermocouple is an automatic safety shutoff device that prevents the gas valve from opening if the pilot light is out. If there is a problem with your thermocouple or if it is simply covered in dirt and debris, you may experience pilot light problems.

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Dirty Or Dislocated Thermocouple

Another common issue that I have seen with the inconsistently lit pilot light is the problem with thermocouples.

A thermocouple is the CPU and safety mechanisms of your gas water heater. It sits on the top of the pilot light. When the pilot light is on, the thermocouple generates a small voltage that tells the system to keep the gas flow free. If for some reason the voltage is not generated, the system assumes that the pilot light is off and switches off the gas supply and then the flame goes out.

Over time, this thermocouple can catch dirt and grime which in result can prevent it from generating that voltage, and thus flame goes out. Or another situation is that the instrument itself gets bent away due to flame.

So what you can do here is to try to clean the surface of the thermocouple with the help of fine sandpaper and keep its end as close to the pilot light as possible. Our aim here is to make sure it detects heat.

If the problem persists then the most likely scenario is that the thermocouple has gone bad.

My Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out How Do I Fix It

Do it Yourself

If your pilot light keeps going out, focus on fixing the areas around the pilot flame. The thermocouple and pilot tube are two areas that can be dirty in many water heaters and need a thorough cleaning.

Ensure that you also test the thermocouple and flex tube without kinks and that the gas flow reaches the pilot light.

If, after ensuring that these areas are straightened out, cleaned, and not broken, the pilot light still does not turn on, you may need to call a professional to look at more serious issues, such as a bad electrical system or main control valve.

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Check For Any Thermocouple Issues

The thermocouple part of the water heater may be what is causing some issues with your water heater pilot light. The thermocouple detects when the pilot light is off and closes the gas valve.

Essentially the brain of the water heater, the thermocouple senses an unlit pilot light and works as a safety device. It protects against gas leaks.

Dirty Thermocouple

A dirty thermocouple may be the reason your pilot light keeps going out. This is because a dirty thermocouple cannot detect the electric current, and therefore the gas line will be cut off to protect your home from any gas leaks.


After turning off the water heater, clean the dirty thermocouple with sandpaper if necessary to get all the dirt and grime off of the device. Once it is clean, you can reattach and see if the pilot light issues are solved. Next, use a long lighter to try and re-light the pilot light flame.

If, after a thorough cleaning, the water heater pilot light keeps going out, check for a faulty thermocouple.

A Damaged Thermocouple

The thermocouple may be kinked or broken. If the damaged thermocouple is even slightly kinked or bent, the electric current may not be able to reach the thermocouple. As a result, the thermocouple will cut off the gas supply, and the water heater pilot light will not ignite.


There may be a bigger problem if your pilot light wont stay lit after fixing the kinks and thoroughly cleaning the thermocouple.

A Broken Thermocouple

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