This guide explains in detail how to light a water heater with electronic pilot when starting a new unit or restarting one after repairs or service.
If you’re unsure what type water heater you have, the Tools & Specs to Keep in Mind section will assist you in determining if your water heater has an electronic pilot. There are tips for keeping you safe when working with gas too.
The pilot needs to be lit when:
If the last scenario occurs, check that the gas valve handle is parallel to the gas line to indicate it is in the on position. Then, look for a small blue pilot flame in the small window at the bottom of the heater.
If there is no flame and the gas is on, the steps below describe how to light a water heater with electronic pilot. If the pilot is on and the dial is set to hot or one of the hotter settings but the unit still isn’t firing to make hot water, your problem is more likely the gas valve, thermocouple or thermostat and should be diagnosed by a professional.
Water heaters are fired in one of three ways. So, knowing the type you have is essential to lighting it:
If you’re sure your water heater has an electronic pilot (type 1 above), locate its gas control assembly. It is a box attached near the bottom of the unit with a rotating control knob or dial, igniter button, status window, wiring and the gas line attached.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to light a water heater with electronic pilot:
If the burner stays lit, you know how to light a water heater with electronic pilot!
If the water heater doesn’t fire, there are two more tips that might solve the problem.
Never try to light an electronic pilot with mechanical means such as a match or barbecue lighter. If you can’t get an electronic pilot lighted using the steps below, the control assembly might have to be replaced before attempting to use the appliance.
Before starting any gas appliance, check the gas connection to make sure it tight. NEVER check for a gas leak with a flame. Mix a few drops of water with a few drops of liquid dish detergent, and apply the solution to the gas connection. View the connection from all angles. Bubbles in the solution indicate a gas leak. If bubbles develop, tighten the connection, and test it again. Also, check to ensure that the installer wrapped the pipe with gas-sealing PTFE tape, which is very thin and yellow. If you don’t see it, turn off the gas, disconnect the line and add the tape before reconnecting and testing the line.
If a gas leak persists, turn off the gas, air out the space and call an HVAC professional for assistance.
Hopefully your unit is running now, creating the hot water you need.
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Image from depositphotos.com.