If you have a traditional water heater with a pilot light, knowing how to safely light it is essential for ensuring your hot water supply. Here’s what you need to know about lighting the pilot on your water heater:

Understanding Pilot Lights

Most residential water heaters use a water storage tank with a pilot light. However, if you’ve recently replaced your unit, it might utilize an electronic igniter instead of a traditional standing pilot light. This change is aimed at improving safety and energy efficiency, as standing pilot lights require a constant gas supply and can be less reliable.

Identifying Electronic Ignition

You can determine if your water heater uses electronic ignition by checking for a square-shaped black or red igniter button and an indicator light on the control valve. If these components are present, your water heater likely has an electronic ignition system.

Lighting the Pilot Light

If your water heater requires manual lighting, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the gas regulator knob on the gas control valve.
  2. Turn the knob to the “Off” position and wait for 10 minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.
  3. Hold a long-barreled lighter to the pilot light while pressing down on the regulator knob.
  4. Once the pilot light ignites, continue holding the knob for 90 seconds to ensure the pilot stays lit.
  5. Release the knob slowly and monitor the pilot light to ensure it remains lit. If it goes out, wait 10 minutes and repeat the process.

For water heaters with electronic ignition:

  1. Press down on the regulator knob.
  2. Press the igniter button repeatedly until the indicator light turns on, indicating that the pilot is lit.

Safety Precautions

  • If you detect a gas odor or hear a hissing noise, do not attempt to light the pilot. Leave the area immediately and contact your gas company or fire department.
  • If your pilot light continues to go out after repeated attempts to relight it, or if it does not stay lit, it’s essential to have your water heater inspected by a professional plumber.

Knowing how to safely light the pilot on your water heater is crucial for maintaining a reliable hot water supply. By following these steps and being aware of safety precautions, you can ensure your water heater operates efficiently and safely.

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