pilot light (gas water heater)

Old 01-27-02, 05:01 PM
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Unhappy pilot light (gas water heater)

How do I check to see whether the pilot light is on or not? If it's off do I have to lit it using a match or pushing the reset button several times?
Old 01-27-02, 06:16 PM
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Pilot Reset Button

Hello vinhdo. Welcome to my Gas Appliances forum and our Do-It-Yourself Web Site.

You need not push the pilot reset button several times. It only needs to be depressed and held down for about 60 seconds to reset, if the safety system is functioning correctly.

In order to view the pilot, carefully and safely remove the covers on the outside of the tank. Use caution, the metal of the inner cover may be HOT!

The correct proceedure is to always use EXTREME caution at all times. For personal safety, turn the selector knob to the "OFF" position and wait 5 minutes.

Always read all manufactures instructions found on the labels attached to the appliance, in the owners manual, instructional booklets, etc. Never hurts to use common sense either....

The position selector knobs, on the common tank type water heater, almost all types of other gas appliances that have a constant burning pilot flame, will have 2 or 3 positions marked on it.

The often found 3 positions are OFF, PILOT and ON. On the 2 position control selector control knobs, any combination of the above may be found depending on the type of gas appliance the control is used on.

Next step, for lighting the pilot on an existing water heater, is to remove the front decorative cover. Then carefully remove the inner firebox metal cover.

Some inner firebox metal covers provide a tiny peep hole for viewing the pilot flame. If one is provided, it is highly recommended to use it.

Always use extreme CAUTION! when removing the inner metal firebox cover. The cover may be HOT, if the pilot is currently on or the burner was on recently.

What your looking for is a pilot flame. The flame will be at the end of the aluminum pilot tube close to the burner.

If there isn't any pilot flame visable, turn the selector control knob, located on top of the gas valve, to the "PILOT" position. Depress the "RED" button, to the left of the selector knob and relite the pilot flame.

The correct place to light the pilot, will be at the end of the pilot assembly. The pilots flame location is very near to the round burner flame spreader plate, inside the firebox.

After the pilot lights, continue to hold that "RED" button down for about 45 to 60 seconds or so, then release it. The pilot flame should remain "ON."

If the pilot flame remains on, correctly and securely replace the inner metal firebox cover. Then stand back at arms length. Rotate the selector knob to the "ON" position and the burner should fire up.

Replace the outer decorative cover and wait at least one hour to one and a half hours for the water in the tank to fully heat up or reheat, depending upon the existing conditions.

It is always possible there are other reasons for pilot outages. The thermocouple could simply be worn out or burned out. The magneto head, installed into the gas control valve can be defective.

The water heater may have venting problems, air flow restrictions, lack of adequate combustion air, gas pressure problems, smothering flames, internal water leakage, defective thermostat and or several other unseen and or unsafe pre-existing conditions, etc.

Bare in mind, pilots that tend to go out for reasons other then a thermocouple burning out or becoming defective, may not be caused by the part itself. A thermocouple is just one part in a complete safety devices system.

There are several conditions which may cause the appliance to operate in a condition which could be hazardous. Some of those conditions are designed to extinguish the pilot. In do so, all gas flow through the gas control valve is shut off.

If there are any doubts regarding the physical aspects of the water heater or any gas appliances operating conditions, especially heaters and water heaters, that exhibit repeated pilot outages, smells and or odors, etc. associated with the gas appliance, may indicate a hazardous condition exists.

For personal and families safety, possible property damages, etc. do not hesitate to contact qualified professional help, if the above described conditions exists. Also bare in mind many gas utilities offer in home appliance services. Contact the utility directly for information, services offered and applicable fees.

The information above is offered to provide basic information and instructional procedures only. Always read your owners manual and closely follow the advice and procedures given in the manufacturers booklet or on the labels attached to the appliance. Always follow all safety warnings!

Regards & Good Luck
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