Let’s start with what a pilot light is so you can better understand the functions. A pilot light is a small flame present to ignite the gas burner on your water heater. A functioning pilot light should appear blue in color, which can help you determine whether or not your pilot light is working.

My Pilot Light Won’t Light on Water Heater, What Now?

Need advice on what to do when water heater pilot light won’t light or when your pilot light keeps going out on your gas water heater? When the pilot light goes out, here’s how to light a gas water heater pilot light:

Your first step is obvious: to try to relight it. First things first, try to light it again before assuming there is a major problem. The below video will demonstrate how to light your water heater pilot light.

Make sure to follow the directions on your water heater label. If your pilot doesn’t relight or goes out right away after relighting, you most likely have an issue with the hot water heater thermocouple.

How to Determine If You Have a Bad Hot Water Heater Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a function on your water heater that senses the heat on the pilot light and allows gas to flow to the burner. A bad thermocouple will shut off gas to both the pilot and the burner, which is when people notice that the water heater pilot light is out.

When your thermocouple detects an unlit pilot, it automatically shuts off the gas to your water heater as a safety precaution.

If you determine that your thermocouple is indeed broken – that means there aren’t any signs of being bent or dirty – then it’s most likely that your device is broken. To fix this issue, you will need to replace the device or have it professionally repaired. This is a good place to clear up some confusion. Sometimes HVAC companies get the call to repair water heaters. While some do, you’re better off calling a plumber like our company to help.

But, there’s good news. This fix isn’t difficult and, in most cases, a thermocouple can be replaced at a nominal cost and quickly — in less than an hour.

Determining the Thermocouple Issue If It’s Not Broken

However, your thermocouple may not necessarily be broken. If it’s dirty, then the electric current from the pilot may be disrupted and leads to a gas outage. This is an easy fix. Here’s how to clean your thermocouple:

First, locate the thermocouple to clean it using a piece of sandpaper. Always remember to shut off the gas before you start cleaning and to make sure that your thermocouple is cool.

If you’re thermocouple still doesn’t work after cleaning, the issue may be that it’s bent. When it’s bent to a certain extent away from the pilot light, it’s no longer functional because it won’t be able to detect the heat.

To fix this is also simple: bend the thermocouple back into its original position. Make sure to bend the thermocouple back so it’s close enough to the pilot flame so it lightly touches the thermocouple. If this is the issue, in most cases, it’s easily resolvable with the above steps.

When Not to Replace Your Thermocouple

If your gas water heater has a closed burner chamber or doesn’t have a pilot light, it’s much more difficult to access. To do this replacement, you most likely need a professional to fix this type of thermocouple.

Call in the Pilot Light Experts

If you determine you need professional to assess to fix the problem, give All Masters a call and we can fix any of your hot water heater thermocouple or pilot light issues! Ask about troubleshooting why your pilot light won’t work right over the phone via our new video chat app in the Arlington and greater DFW area. (817) 200-4703

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