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New to Lighting Your Water Heater? Here Are Some Useful Tips!

Lighting water heaters

How to Light Your Water Heater

When going on an extended vacation, you may have to turn off your water heater temporarily. Once you return, you may have to relight the heater's pilot light again. In some cases, you may have to light the pilot of your gas-powered water if it goes out unexpectedly in your Fort Lauderdale home. Re-lighting the pilot safely requires following these important steps.

Steps to Lighting a Pilot Light

First, the gas supply of the water tank must be shut off. Even though the heater's pilot light is not lit, gas can still be released via the pilot tube. Cutting the gas supply off completely is necessary for safety reasons. If you cannot find the gas supply, look for it at the bottom of the unit. Make sure that the gas inlet valve isn’t blocked or closed. Turn the gas inlet valve handle parallel to the actual gas line.

Next, you need to remove the pilot cover of the tank with a screwdriver. Now you need to locate the pilot tube, which may be tricky if the area isn’t particularly well lit. Use a flash light to locate the edge of the tubing. Now you will light the pilot and select the “pilot” setting. It is important to hold down the reset button while lighting the pilot. Wait until the flame re-appears, and then cut the gas back on. Adjust the thermostat to the appropriate setting. The panel should then be replaced and covered with the panel. Be sure to tightly screw in the panel.

What happens if the pilot light can’t be relit?

It isn’t uncommon for there to be problems with relighting the water heater. In some cases, the problem can be resolved in just a few steps. In other cases, a repair technician may be necessary to troubleshoot the problem accurately. If the burner doesn’t ignite, there may be a problem with the thermostat. The thermostat may either need replacing or adjusted. Tinker with the temperature settings to see if this resolves the problem. Sometimes adjusting the temperature up and down just above 120 degrees is enough to aid the relighting process.

Common Water Heater Repair Issues that Appear Once You've Relit the Pilot Light

Water heater repairIf you notice that after relighting the pilot light, there is a gas-like smell, cut the gas control valve off again. Make another attempt to relight it once again. If the gas smell returns, a plumbing technician or heater repair expert should be contacted immediately to check out the problem. It may be best to simply cut off the gas supply immediately and contact an expert for safety reasons.

The pilot light may go out again shortly after it has been relit. Locate the thermocouple by remove both the outer and inner covers near the bottom of the water heating system's tank. Check to see if the thermocouple is covered in soot. If not, it probably needs to be cleaned. If the thermocouple hasn’t been properly cleaned, then do so with sandpaper. Wait for the thermocouple to cool down before making another attempt at lighting the pilot.

Make sure that the thermocouple is bent toward the pilot light, so that it can quickly detect the flame. If the pilot light flame lights and goes out, the pilot tube may be dirty. The needle will help remove any potential blockages from the tube.

If the thermostat, thermocouple, valves and tubing are properly cleaned and appear to be in relatively good working condition, contact a local repair technician in the Fort Lauderdale area to have the unit serviced. The orifice may also need to be cleaned to remove any blockages. If the thermocouple is being insufficiently heated, a blocked orifice could be the problem.

What are the necessary precautions to take?

There are some water heater repair safety precautions to take when preparing to light the system's pilot light. During the lighting process, make sure that the setting is on “Pilot” for safety. This is to avoid the burner from unexpectedly lighting during the troubleshooting process. Make sure that the gas is turned off completely. Turning the gas off completely before attempting to relight the unit is necessary because gas can still travel even if it not officially lit.

If you suspect that any of the parts need to be thoroughly cleaned, make sure that the system has been permitted to properly cool before relighting the unit.

Lighting the pilot light is a simple enough task. It may, however, be dangerous if these steps aren’t followed. If you are going to relight the pilot light on your own, make sure to cut the gas supply completely off in order to safely finish the process.

If you are experiencing problems with the gas-powered water heater, contact your local service repair team, C&D Plumbing Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL at (954) 758-8169 to schedule an appointment.