The Complete Guide to Pilot Lights and How To Fix Them

The Complete Guide to Pilot Lights and How To Fix Them

What is a "Pilot Light"

A pilot light, also known as a pilot flame or a gas flame, is a very small gas flame that is used to ignite or "light" the burner of an appliance.

A pilot light can be lit by one of two methods:

  1. By turning the knob on the front of the stove clockwise and then pressing it in. The knob will stay in this position and allow you to adjust the brightness of the flame.
  2. By removing the glass cover from over the burner and lighting it with a match or lighter.

Why Does My Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

The pilot light is a safety feature that ensures that the stove is always lit. It is designed to provide a constant flame in order to keep the stove lit and ready for use. This safety feature can be useful when you're cooking with gas and are not near the stove.

Here are some reasons it may be out:

Dirty or Damaged Thermocouple

A faulty, off kilter, dirty, or damaged thermocouple is often the reason behind your pilot light not staying lit. The thermocouple is an automatic safety shutoff device that prevents the gas valve from opening if the pilot light is out.

Dirty Pilot Opening

If dirt or dust collects in the pilot light port, it can prevent it from thoroughly lighting the flame. This falsely triggers the thermocouple safety mechanism, turning off your gas and putting out your heat.

Wind or Draft

If there is a strong draft in your basement or wherever the water heater is located, this can easily snuff of your flame.

If your pilot light goes out, there are a few steps you can take to get it back up and running again. You'll need to make sure that your gas tank is full and then follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the gas at the tank or inlet valve
  2. Open all of your windows for at least 15 minutes before turning on your oven or stovetop
  3. Check for any cracks in your oven or stovetop burner or any other damage that may have caused it to go out

How to Re-Light a Pilot Light

To relight a pilot light on water heater, you need to turn off the power supply and then switch it back on after 10 seconds. After this, you will need to turn the knob in front of the pilot light to "pilot."

If you are unable to do so, then check if the knob is properly turned on. If it is not, then turn it clockwise until the knob clicks into place.

If either of these do not work, it's time to call a plumber! This is where A-Team Plumbing & Drain can help. Contact us!

Final Thoughts

Dealing with natural gas can be intimidating. However, if you follow these easy steps, you can safely reignite your hot water heater pilot light whenever you need to.

If you are still unsure of what you are doing, can’t figure out how your particular model works, or feel better have a professional handle it, you can always call the A-Team for professional, punctual, and locally-based assistance.