Lighting a gas pilot light is a skill that all homeowners should acquire if they own a water heater with a standing pilot light. Although working with gas can be tricky, or even dangerous for a novice, knowing how to troubleshoot basic problems with a gas water heater can be a useful skill. If you are unsure how to complete any of the steps necessary to safely light the water heater pilot light yourself or smell gas, call a professional immediately. Otherwise, try these steps to for lighting a gas pilot light.
Lighting a Gas Pilot Light in 5 Easy Steps
Step#1: Using your manual for instructional purposes, locate the burner access panel for your gas water heater and remove it.
Step#2: Lower the temperature control dial to the lowest setting.
Step#3: Turn knob that controls the gas into the off position.
Step#4: Wait at least five minutes to allow any gas within the system to disperse. Try leaving the room and coming back so you are not desensitized to the gas smell. Do not proceed until you cannot smell any gas. If this takes longer than 10 minutes, call a professional, you may have a leak.
Step#5: Now you can light the water heater pilot light yourself. If your gas water heater manual has instructions, be sure to follow them. In most cases, you press down the reset button with a lighted match in the other hand near the pilot light. If you are lucky, it should light.
Step#6: If you don’t have a reset button, you may have to push down on the control knob for the gas to light the pilot light. Hold the control knob down for a few seconds and release it: your pilot light should stay lit.
Step#7: If it doesn’t light the first time, you can make one other attempt to light the water heater pilot light yourself. If this doesn’t work, call the gas company immediately to inspect your gas water heater for problems or leaks.
Step#8: Reset the temperature by making sure the gas control know is on and the temperature dial is set. Around 120 degrees is standard, but it can be varied according to individual preference. Some homeowners save money by setting the temperature lower on the water heater. If you have children, be sure to keep the temperature low for safety’s sake.
If you smell gas before trying to safely light the water heater pilot yourself, call the gas company immediately. If you are unsure about working on your gas water heater, you should also call the gas company. A technician will be happy to show you how to light the pilot light so you can do it yourself next time.