Why Is The Pilot Light Not Working On Your Gas Storage Water Heater?

Gas storage water heaters rely on a small flame known as a pilot light to ignite the gas for water heating. In conventional appliances, the pilot light stays on at all times. Therefore, if the light goes off on its own, something is wrong with your hot water system. With no pilot light, the gas won't ignite; therefore, your water heater won't heat the water in the tank. You should fix the pilot light immediately to restore hot water in your home. With this in mind, check out these three potential reasons why your pilot light is not on.

Blocked Air Intake

The air intake provides oxygen for the pilot light to stay ignited. It comprises a pipe that runs all the way from the water heater to the roof or side of the house. The outdoor location of the air intake comes with the risk of blockage from accumulated dirt and debris. When a blockage occurs, the pilot light receives less air, which slows down and eventually halts combustion. Consequently, the pilot light goes off, preventing the water heater from working. You should unclog the air intake pipe to allow adequate airflow to the pilot.

Faulty Thermocouple

The thermocouple, also known as the flame sensor, is a thermoelectric device that controls gas flow in gas hot water systems. It senses the pilot light and allows gas to flow to the gas burner for ignition and water heating. If the pilot light goes out, the flame sensor shuts off the gas valve to prevent gas from leaking into the home. A faulty flame sensor won't detect the pilot light. As a result, it will close the gas valve, cutting the gas supply to the flame and causing it to go off. You must replace the flame sensor to prevent the pilot light from going off.

Clogged or Faulty Pilot Assembly

The pilot on your water heater is the device that produces the flame that ignites the natural gas. The pilot can become clogged due to dirt and carbon buildup. This buildup can cause the pilot light to malfunction and go out. The pilot components can also develop defects and cause the flame to go out. For example, if the orifice is faulty or clogged, it will block gas flow to the pilot. Consequently, the flame will go out since there will be no gas to keep it ignited. In this case, you must replace the entire pilot assembly to restore the pilot light and keep it on.

A faulty thermocouple on the pilot assembly can cause gas leaks in your home. Therefore, if your water heater pilot light has gone out, don't attempt to re-ignite it. Instead, contact a plumbing contractor for an accurate diagnosis and repairs.

For more information on water heater repair, contact a professional near you.

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Hot Water 101: Choosing A Heating System Over the years, the number of options for hot water heaters has increased significantly. Not only are there traditional tank-style hot water heaters, but there are also on-demand units that heat water as you need it instead of storing and maintaining large volumes. Unfortunately, with so many choices, homeowners often find themselves overwhelmed by the options. That's why this site is here. We created this blog to help homeowners like you understand the different types of water heaters in the hopes that the knowledge will make it easier for you to select your next one. Check out the information on this site to help as you shop for your hot water heater.