How to Light Your Allentown Home’s Water Heater
If there is one thing that is truly unpleasant, it is stepping into the shower and being hit with a blast of arctic cold water. When the hot water function stops working, the most typical culprit is the pilot light on the hot water heater.
In this post, learn how to relight the pilot light when it goes out. Also learn when it may be time to call a professional out to assist you with water heater repair.
Identify the Type of Hot Water Heater
There are many different types of hot water heaters in use today. Water heaters that use gas or electric power are the most common types.
Older style gas or electric heaters may require use of a torch to relight the pilot light. Newer style heaters often replace this with a spark generator from inside the heater, which is safer and easier to use.
What you need to know to get the pilot light re-lit:
- The type of water heater you have (only gas water heaters use a pilot light).
- Whether it is an older or newer model.
- Whether you need a manual torch or there is a spark generator available.
If you determine the heater type is not the kind that has a pilot light ignition, it is time to call out a professional company to troubleshoot why you don’t have working hot water.
Safety Steps Before Attempting to Re-light the Pilot Light
While many will say that relighting a pilot light that has gone out is a relatively simple task, you are working with a gas-powered appliance filled with very hot water and either an ignition spark or an open torch flame. With all of this going on, there is a lot that could go wrong!
Here are some precautionary safety steps to take:
- First, sniff for any gasoline odor. If you detect gas, do not attempt to relight the pilot light. Instead, call the gas company and schedule a maintenance call to determine the source of the leak.
- Next, clear away all debris that may have accumulated on or around the heater unit, especially near the ignition spark or pilot light itself.
- Ask another person to accompany you in case relighting the pilot light turns into a two-person job (with some older style water heaters in particular, this will likely be the case).
- Make sure your clothing is tucked in and your shirtsleeves are rolled back and out of the way of any open flame.
Unless you feel thoroughly comfortable with relighting the pilot light yourself, it can be a good idea to contact a professional to complete this task for you. One advantage to taking this route is that the water heater repair company can also examine your Allentown home’s system to ensure all parts are intact and working properly, change your filter if needed, clean the air vent and perform other maintenance as needed.
Steps to Relighting the Pilot Light On An Older Model Unit
An older model heater will likely have a manual pilot light that needs to be re-lit from a torch. Be sure you have a long match or, ideally, a barbecue torch for safety. Remember to follow the list of safety precautions first!
- First, turn the temperature valve or dial to “Off.”
- Wait at least 5 minutes to be sure there is no gas flowing.
- Now turn the valve to “Pilot.”
- Get your torch ready to light (it may be helpful to have a second person available to do this part).
- Hold down the button beside the valve or dial and have the other person use the torch to relight the pilot.
- Continue to hold down the button for at least 30 seconds after the pilot light has been relit to ensure there is no air in the line itself.
- Verify the pilot light has been successfully re-lit.
- Turn the valve to “On.”
If these steps do not work to successfully re-light the pilot light, it is time to contact a professional water heater repair company to schedule a service call, since there may be an issue with the thermocouple, the line or even the pilot itself.
Steps to Relighting the Pilot Light On An Newer Model Unit
If you are lucky enough to have a newer model style heater unit, you won’t have to cope with igniting a torch and touching it to the pilot to relight the flame. Instead, this is the process you will follow to relight the pilot. Again, be sure to follow all safety precautions before beginning!
- Step 1: Turn the temperature dial to the lowest possible position.
- Step 2: Turn the dial to “Pilot.”
- Step 3: Press down the button beside the dial and hold it.
- Step 4: Now press the spark ignition button and watch for the flame to re-ignite.
- Step 5: After you see the flame ignite, hold the button down for an additional 30 seconds.
- Step 6: Now set the dial to “On.”
- Step 7: Finally, reset the temperature dial to your desired temperature.
- Step 8: Before departing, double check to see the pilot light is still lit.
If these steps do not result in a successfully re-lit pilot light, it is time to call a professional company to make a service call. There may be an issue with the spark ignition, the thermocouple or the gas line.
By identifying the type of heater and how the pilot light ignition set up works, it may be possible to re-light an extinguished pilot light yourself.
However, if the heater unit is inaccessible or only accessible under unsafe conditions, or if your attempts to re-light the pilot are not successful, it is always a wise idea to contact a professional to service your Allentown home unit.
For quality services in your Allentown, PA area, call Schuler Service Inc at (610) 991-7098.