How To Light The Pilot Light On Your Hot Water Heater


If your gas water heater fails to provide hot water and you find only cold water coming out of the faucet, the pilot light and the setting of the water heater may not be working well. The pilot light is of crucial importance in gas water heaters. You can check and fix it to ensure that you can get warm water when you switch on your water heater. However, you need to first find out whether you have an automatic or a manual water heater.

Differentiating Between Manual And Automatic Gas Water Heater

You can visually inspect your water heater to find out whether it is a manual water heater or an automatic water heater. You will find a box attached close to the body of your heater. The box will have two dials. All the automatic gas water heaters have an ignition button located close to the bigger dial (the on-off-pilot dial). All the manual gas water heaters do not contain this ignition button or switch.

Lighting Your Automatic Gas Water Heater

You will have to work on the “on-off-pilot” dial (or the pilot dial) and switch for fixing the pilot light of your automatic gas water heater. Turn and move the knob of the switch dial to its “off” position. Leave the knob at this position for some time so that all the built-up and residue gases can flow away and dissipate to the surrounding environment (in approximately 5 minutes).

Once the gases have escaped, you have to begin the process of lighting up the pilot light. First, move the temperature dial to the “low” setting. Now move the pilot setting dial set to the “pilot” position. Subsequently, you will have to turn the pilot dial down (towards the ground) and also press the “ignition” button as well at the same point in time. Now remove your hand/finger from the ignition button and let it go. However, keep pressing the pilot dial downloads for approximately 30 more seconds. You will listen to the sound of lighting up of the gas (the “whoosh” sound).

Switching On The Pilot Light Of A Manual Gas Water Heater

For the manual gas water heater, you may require a barbecue lighter of good length. This is so because you need to ignite it from a distance and may not be able to reach the pilot light otherwise.

To start the process, locate the box that has the dials and remove the plate from it. As stated, the box can be found on any of the side portion of the manual water heater. Sometimes the water heater may have an additional inner plate as well that you may have to slide it. Once the plates are removed, you can see the pipe setting that connects to the burner.

Now move the knob of the “pilot” dial (with all settings including on, off, and pilot) to its “off” position. Here again, you will have to wait for approximately 5 minutes so that all the gases dissipate and move away from the meter. Move the temperature setting (for warning water) and dial to its “Low” setting. Also, move the “on-off-pilot” dial to the “Pilot” setting. Now push the pilot dial below and downwards and light up your barbeque lighter with your other hand. Move the barbeque lighter quickly and place it over the burner pipe’s end. You would see that the ignition of the gas had been done and a flame had started. Continue pressing the “on off-pilot” dial downloads for approximately 30 more seconds. You can also move the dial from its “pilot” to the “on” setting. Since everything is now done, you can position the plates to their original location. You can also set up the desired temperature for your water heater.

There are some safety precautions to practice as well. For instance, you should not continue with it for a prolonged period. The gas can accumulate, and in such a scenario an explosion can occur. Therefore, when the burner is not lighting up within a short time and a few seconds, you may have to start the process again.


Whether it is a gas water heater or an electric water heater, the expert plumbing services for water heater repair Carlsbad can help you with many issues associated with your plumbing and appliances associated with it. Reach out to a reputable and leading plumber in your area for more safety and a hassle-free water heater repair experience.