Homeowner’s Guide to Properly Lighting a Water Heater

by AmeriServe Plumbing on March 4, 2016

How To Light Your Water Heater

Gas Water Heaters Explained

Many who have a gas water heater already know how they function, but there are some who may have moved into a home recently with a gas heater and must learn how the heater functions. Those that don’t know this should understand that a pilot is lit on a gas heater, and this can then light the main burner, which burns gas flowing to the heater to allow it to warm up the water.

 Easton, PA Lighting-water-heatersThe pilot must stay lit at all times, in order for the heater to function as it should, and if the pilot ever goes out, then it takes away the heater’s capability to heat up the water. Pilots go out all the time on gas heaters, and it can be because of the low gas supply, which may be the fault of the gas company. It’s also possible that the pilot is no longer functional and has to be replaced, or the pilot may have gone out by accident. Whatever the reason is why the pilot has gone out, relighting it should allow the heater to warm the water.

Getting The Pilot To Light

Lighting the pilot for a gas heater seems easy enough, but it’s still a good idea to allow an Easton area plumber to come and check out the heater as well as take the time to relight the pilot after it’s determined that the heater is fully functional.

Remember, there are several reasons for a pilot to go out, and if a malfunction or bad part is the problem, then you’ll still have to call out a plumber to fix the heater, so calling them out right away is the best solution. When it’s necessary to relight a pilot that has gone out, the first thing to do is to locate the pilot. With different models of heaters, the pilot may be in similar places, but the access to the pilot may be blocked in some cases.

In some furnaces, the pilot is visible through glass that keeps the pilot away from anyone as well as keeping it safe from a draft or breeze blowing it out. These types of heaters will have an igniter built into the heater to allow it to light the pilot, so it’s not necessary to manually light the pilot at all.

In the older heaters, the pilot has to be lit by getting fire from a source, such as a wand lighter to light the pilot after turning the gas valve to the “pilot” setting. Although it’s a bit more inconvenient to light a pilot this way, it’s still just as effective as lighting a pilot with an igniter, but it’s best if the person lighting the pilot is very careful to make sure that they don’t get burned.

After seeing that the pilot is out, which can be determined by opening the access door to the pilot, if there is one, then turn off the gas to the heater by switching the gas valve into the off position. It’s a good idea to wait some time, such as five or ten minutes to give the gas time to clear out of the air. Only a small whiff of gas should be present after opening the door or access panel to the pilot, but no other smell of gas should be in the room, especially after the gas is turned off.

Also, turn the temperature gauge on the gas heater to a low setting, which should be the lowest setting possible. After waiting a few minutes, go back the heater, and also bring a wand lighter if it’s necessary to light the pilot manually.

 Easton, PA Lighting-water-heaters-2Go over to the heater to examine the controls that it has, which should be the gas valve, the temperature control valve, and possibly a regulator valve. In order to proceed with relighting the pilot, observe the instructions that should be within a doorway or panel on the heater, depending on the type of heater it is. For the next steps, it’s necessary to use both the left and right hand, so use the hand that’s most comfortable to hold the wand lighter to relight the pilot. Turn the gas valve to “pilot,” which then should feed the gas to the pilot so it can be lit. This valve may be able to be pressed downward, so if it can be, then press down on it while lighting the pilot with the wand lighter in the other hand.

If the gas valve cannot be pressed downward, then it’s necessary to press the regulator valve, which should be above the gas valve. Light the pilot, but don’t let go of either the gas valve or the regulator valve because it’s needed to light the pilot and should be held down for a minute or so. After a minute, release the valve that’s being pushed down, and then the pilot should continue to burn. Turn the gas back on, and turn up the temperature on the water heater to allow the water to warm up, also, close the panel to the pilot.

Safety Tips

Anyone dealing with gas should know of its flammability and the fact that it’s dangerous, so always observe for leaking gas before relighting the pilot. Leaking gas could be coming from the area of the pilot or from other places around the heater, which may have resulted in the pilot going out. All gas leaks should be reported to the gas company.

Always Get Water Heater Repair ASAP

A gas heater is just like an electric heater and needs maintenance every year, but water heater repair is something that must be done as soon as damage or wear occurs on the heater. Getting a plumber in the Easton area out to do water heater repair will fix any problems the heater is having as well as keep the heater working for years.

Get great water heater specialists by calling AmeriServe in Easton, PA at (610) 258-2591.

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