January 16, 2017

Common Reasons Why Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light Goes Out

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Hot Water Heater

Understanding Why Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light Goes Out

Having trouble with your water heater’s pilot light? It’s a common issue that many homeowners face. Here are some of the most likely reasons why your pilot light might be going out and what you can do about it:

  1. Faulty Thermocouple
    • The thermocouple is a safety device that senses when the pilot light is on. If it fails or becomes faulty, it might incorrectly shut off the gas to the pilot light, thinking it’s out. This is often the most common reason for pilot lights going out and may require a replacement.
  2. Drafty Locations
    • Water heaters placed in drafty areas, such as garages, may experience issues with the pilot light. Attic fans and other sources of airflow can create drafts that blow across the burner chamber, extinguishing the pilot light. Consider redirecting airflow or relocating the water heater if possible.
  3. Down Draft from the Vent
    • On windy days, down drafts entering through the vent can be strong enough to blow out the pilot light. This usually occurs in vent systems that are improperly installed or lack adequate protection against wind.
  4. Clogged Pilot Orifice
    • Over time, the pilot orifice can become clogged with dirt and debris, which restricts the flow of gas to the pilot light, making it unstable or too weak to stay lit. Cleaning the pilot orifice may resolve this issue.
  5. Defective Gas Valve
    • If the water heater’s gas valve is bad, it won’t provide the necessary gas flow to keep the pilot light ignited. This is a more serious issue and typically requires the expertise of a professional to diagnose and replace the faulty valve.

Take Action

If you’re experiencing frequent problems with your water heater’s pilot light, it might be time to call a professional. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can prevent these common issues and ensure that your water heater operates safely and efficiently.

For expert help, contact GAC Plumbing Company at 707-538-8000 or visit our website at www.gaccompany.com. We provide comprehensive services to diagnose and fix all types of water heater problems.


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