January 16, 2017

Water Heater Pilot Light (Old Style)

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Safely Lighting Your Older Style Gas Water Heater

Safety Precautions

Before attempting to light your pilot light, ensure safety by checking for gas leaks:

  • Stand beside your water heater: Do you smell gas?
  • Kneel by the gas/control valve: If there’s no gas smell, you’re safe to proceed. If you do smell gas, immediately call GAC Plumbing Company at 707-538-8000 for professional help.

Steps to Light Your Pilot Light

  1. Prepare Your Water Heater:
    • Turn the temperature control knob to the lowest setting.
    • Set the on/off control knob to ‘Pilot’.
    • Remove both the outer and inner access panels.
  2. Light the Pilot:
    • Press and hold the pilot button down. If your model lacks a pilot button, press down the on/off control knob while on ‘Pilot’.
    • Light the end of the pilot supply tube with a match. Follow the small silver tube emerging from the bottom of the gas control valve to locate it.
  3. Keep the Pilot Lit:
    • Continue holding the pilot button for 20 to 30 seconds after lighting.
    • Slowly release the button ensuring the pilot stays lit. If it goes out, attempt to relight it, holding the button down slightly longer.
    • If the gas was previously off, keep the button pressed until all air is purged from the line.

Post-Lighting Checks and Adjustments

  • Check for Issues: If the pilot light frequently goes out or fails to stay lit, inspect the thermocouple for issues.
  • Prevent Blowback: Before firing up the burner, replace both access panels to avoid blowback, which can occur if rust obstructs the burner. This is often characterized by gas buildup and flames rolling out upon ignition.
  • Turn On Your Heater:
    • Switch the on/off control knob to ‘On’.
    • Adjust the temperature control knob to your preferred setting.
    • Listen for the burner to ignite, signaling successful activation.

Final Safety Advice

Never operate the burner with the access panels removed to prevent injuries from potential blowback, which can cause burns, typically to the face and eyes. Following these steps helps ensure your water heater operates safely and efficiently.

For further assistance or if you encounter any issues, do not hesitate to contact GAC Plumbing Company. We’re here to ensure your water heating needs are met safely and effectively.


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