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How to Light Your Water Heater

The pilot light in the water heater system may have gone out, and that is probably the reason there is no hot water coming out of the faucet. Rather than start looking for a water heater repair professional, it is worth a try to light the pilot light by following the simple instructions, and it is completely safe.

Winchester, VA lighting-water-heatersSeeking services of a professional will come at a cost for something that is easy to fix. Besides, it only takes a few minutes to light the pilot light. Seeking help that you will pay for will take more time compared to lighting it yourself.

The pilot light is located at the bottom of the tank. It is the one responsible for lighting the burner that heats the water. And in most cases, when there is cold water instead of hot water, it is the pilot light that has gone out and if lit again, water will start to be heated.

The process of lighting the pilot light is the same for most water heaters. Following the guide will work for most heaters. But it is good to counter check against instructions provided on the equipment. To avoid any accidents and damages, take safety precautions that are included in the guide.

Situation Analysis

It is advisable first to assess the situation rather than going straight to light the pilot light for safety reasons and successful pilot lighting. The things that need to be checked include the pilot light to confirm if it is off, gas leakage, gas supply, and air vents.

The chances that the pilot light went off when there is cold water flowing is very high. Rather than come to a conclusion that the pilot light is off, it is prudent to confirm that it is off. You may start preparing to light the pilot light only to find out that it is on, meaning it is not the reason there is no hot water flowing.

Locate a small removable panel (access panel) at the bottom of the heating system and remove it. If there is no removable panel, then there should be a transparent glass. You should be able to see the pilot light if it is on or if it has gone out.

Next, check if there is gas leakage in your Winchester water heater as a safety precaution. The gas is very flammable when it comes in contact with fire. If there is leakage, it may cause an explosion when trying to light the pilot light.

The explosion may damage the equipment, your Winchester home or the person lighting the water heater. Gas companies have added a substance that smells like sulfur to make it easy for humans to detect if there is any leakage.

Carry out a smell check by sniffing around the heater and the gas valves. Also, check out for a hissing sound. If there is any unusual smell or hissing sound, contact the gas company that supply your gas for best advice. Otherwise, it is safe to prepare to light the pilot light.

For the pilot light to be lit, confirm if there is gas supply. Maybe it is the reason the pilot light has gone out. Another reason associated with gas supply that may have caused the pilot to go off is pressure fluctuation. Check if there is enough pressure.

Check air vents. For the gas to be ignited, there needs to be fresh air circulation. Therefore, if the air vents are blocked, ignition may occur but will not be sustained if there is no air circulation. Find the equipment owner’s manual for instructions on how the air vents can be removed and cleaned to allow for air circulation.

Prepare to Light the Pilot

Some things need to be in place before lighting the pilot. Doing them will ensure that the lighting process goes on smoothly. As a way of confirming that the process outlined conforms with that of your equipment, ensure you read the instructions that are provided with the equipment. Most manufacturers place the instructions on the outside of the equipment or the inner side of the access panel.

As part of preparing to light set the temperature to the minimum settings using the temperature control knob. For safe pilot lighting, the gas in the tubes needs to be cleared. Therefore, turn the gas regulator valve to “OFF” position and wait for about 10 minutes for the gas to clear. Also, ensure that the access panel has been removed.

Winchester, VA lighting-water-heaters-2Determine whether your water heater requires a lighter to ignite the pilot flame or has a built-in spark igniter. This depends on the type of water heating system installed, whether it is an old type or a newer one.

Older ones require manual lighting using a matchstick lighter, and most have a removable access panel. The new ones have a built-in igniter. For the old types that require manual lighting, ensure that you have along lighter to avoid burning your fingers.

Lighting the Pilot Light

Turn the gas regulator valve to “PILOT” position for gas to start flowing. Then press and hold down the button on the gas regulator valve. If the gas valve has no button, check if there is a control button next to it.

While still holding the control button, press the ignition switch for the newer types of water heaters. You should hear a click sound. This will ignite the pilot light.

For old types, use the matchstick lighter to ignite manually. Release the control button after 30-40 seconds. If the light goes off after releasing the control button, try again and hold the button a little longer.

Place back the access panel if it worked. Turn the gas valve to ON position. If it did not work, please seek the services of a water heater repair company.

For quality services in your Winchester, VA home, call Powell’s Plumbing at 540-665-8196