January 16, 2017

Lighting a Water Heater Pilot Light (New Style)

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Hot Water Heater

Safely Lighting the Pilot on Your Newer Style Gas Water Heater

Safety First

Before attempting any maintenance on your water heater, safety is paramount:

  • Check for Gas Leaks: Stand near your water heater. If you smell gas while standing or kneeling at the bottom of the unit, do not proceed. Call GAC Plumbing Company immediately at 707-538-8000 for professional assistance.

Instructions for Lighting the Pilot

Step One: Prepare the Water Heater

  • Turn the temperature control to its lowest setting, often marked with a small diamond.

Step Two: Adjust the Control Settings

  • Set the on-off control to the pilot setting.

Step Three: Ignite the Pilot

  • Press and hold the hot water heater pilot button down.

Step Four: Generate the Spark

  • While looking through the sight glass, slowly press the spark generator. You should see a spark and the pilot light should ignite.
  • Continue holding the pilot button down for 20-30 seconds after the pilot is lit to ensure it stays lit.

If the Pilot Doesn’t Light:

  • If the pilot doesn’t light initially, you may have air in the line. Continue holding the pilot button and press the generator button every 10 seconds until the pilot lights.

Finalizing the Setup

  • After the pilot is lit and stable, set the on/off knob to the ‘on’ position.
  • Adjust the temperature control to your desired setting.
  • Listen for the burner to activate and verify the flame through the sight glass.

Maintenance Tips

  • Ensure the air vents on your water heater are clean to maintain proper operation. Most newer gas water heaters have fresh air vents under the burner or around the sides at the bottom of the tank. Some models feature washable filters.
  • For vent cleaning, particularly those located at the bottom of the tank, the burner assembly may need to be removed. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions; most manufacturers provide downloadable manuals on their websites.
  • Regular cleaning helps prevent shutdowns due to insufficient air/oxygen, which could necessitate replacements of the gas control valve or safety shut-off switch.

Need Professional Help? If you encounter any issues or prefer professional service, contact GAC Plumbing Company. We’re here to ensure your water heating system is functioning safely and efficiently. Call us at 707-538-8000 for immediate assistance or visit our website for more information.


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