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How to Light a Gas Water Heater?

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

If you have a gas water heater and no hot water, you may be wondering how to light a hot water heater.

In some cases, it’s possible that your water heater is in perfectly fine shape, and the pilot light has simply gone out.

All-righty, in this blog from Deluxe Plumbing & Heating, we’ll discuss a few steps and precautions to take when lighting a gas hot water heater.

Let’s get started.

1. Turn Off the Gas and Open the Pilot Light Access Door/Cover

First, turn off the gas to your hot water heater for about 5 minutes.

Then, check your owner’s manual to find the pilot light access door or cover and open it.

This is usually located right below the gas valve.

2. Find the Burner Inside

You will want a flashlight or headlamp to identify the pilot light burner. You’ll see two small gas tubes leading to it.

3. Turn the Gas Knob To “Pilot”

In some water heaters, this may be done using a separate button, usually colored red, which you’ll need to press and hold as you light the pilot light.

4. Light the Pilot Light

Some units may have an igniter button. If this is the case, use it. This will usually create a small electrical short that ignites the pilot light.

If your unit does not have this, you can use a long gas grill lighter or a long grill match. Don’t try to use a short cigarette lighter or match, or you’re likely to burn yourself.

While holding down the pilot button or keeping the gas knob open, carefully place the flame near the pilot light.

Once the pilot light is fully lit, continue to hold the knob or gas valve open for at least a minute. Release it slowly, and make sure the light is still lit.

5. Turn the Gas Back on Completely

Turn the gas to your gas hot water heater back on completely, and listen for the “whump” or “whoosh” sound of the main burner igniting.

This will be familiar if you’ve ever used a gas-powered grill or fireplace.

6. Replace the Pilot Light Access Door or Cover

Close or replace the pilot light access door or cover completely. Your pilot light is fully lit – you’ve just learned how to light a hot water heater!

Got Pilot Light Problems? Contact Deluxe Plumbing & Heating

A pilot light can be extinguished by natural changes in gas pressure, but if your pilot light keeps going out, this likely means there’s an issue like a bent or dirty thermocouple, a small device that detects flame outages and automatically turns the gas off when the pilot light turns off.

If your gas hot water heater is acting up, Deluxe Plumbing & Heating is here to help. We’re fully certified with the cities around the Lehigh Valley to work on gas lines!

Contact us online or give us a call at 610-628-1724 to get the help you need right away.


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