How to Light a Pilot Light on a Gas Heater

Last Updated on January 30, 2022 by Vernon Scott

You are going to take a shower, turn on the tap, and cold water comes out. The day is ruined, except not really. The cold water came because the pilot light of your gas water heater went off. You may wonder why did this happen. It is most probably because of a fluctuation in the pressure of the gas.

The pilot light helps to ignite the gas burner to heat the water. Today, we will show you how to relight the pilot light of your gas water heater. You just have to follow some steps carefully.

Lighting the Pilot Light on Your Gas Heater

Below, you can find the instruction to light a gas water heater pilot light-

  • At first, try to locate the gas regulator valve. You can find it at the place where the gas pipe enters into the heater. There will be a knob on it. Turn this valve off using the knob, and wait for 5-7 minutes.
  • You can find the pilot burner underneath the heater. Remove any cover on it to make it accessible. Use your flashlight to light up the pilot burner.
  • Now, move the knob on the gas valve regulator to the ‘pilot’ position. Press and hold it down so that the gas can start passing to the pilot burner. Keep in mind that some heaters may have a different red button to press and hold for the gas flow.
  • It is time to light the pilot light. How you need to do it depends on whether your heater has a built-in igniter or not. If it has a built-in spark igniter, you will have to press the ignition button. You can find this button either to the top or on any side of the gas valve. This button can be red or black. Once you press it, the pilot will ignite. It should make a click sound.
  • Without any built-in igniter, you can use a barbeque lighter. Use its fire on the pilot light.
  • For the next one minute, hold the gas regulator valve down. Afterward, release it slowly.
  • Turn the knob to the ‘on’ position. There should be a ‘whoomp’ sound of the gas burner ignition.
  • Add a new access cover for the pilot burner.

Frequently Asked  Questions about Pilot Light

What Items Do You Need to Light the Pilot Light of Your Heater?

All you need is a flashlight to light up the dark areas. You may need a barbeque lighter in case your heater doesn’t have a built-in igniter.

What Safety Precaution Are There When Lighting up Your Gas Heater Pilot Light?

If you smell any gas near the heater, do not try to ignite anything. In fact, you stay far from it and call 911.

Why Does the Pilot Light of a Gas Water Heater Turn off?

There can be various reasons behind why the pilot light went out. It can be any malfunction in the parts. Fluctuations in the gas pressure can also cause the issue.


One thing to remember is that different gas water heaters may have unique procedures to light up their pilot light. So, try to locate any label on the heater that explains how you can do it. If you have any issues or find it too risky, you should let someone else do the job.

Do not proceed to light your gas heater pilot light unless you know the whole process properly.

Make sure to check the water after you complete the processes. The water temperature should be back to normal after a while.

I am a Trained HVAC Technician and Author of EmiNick. I have been in the industry for over 10 years and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. I have been involved in all aspects of HVAC, from design and installation to repair and maintenance. I am also a certified energy auditor and have experience in conducting energy audits for both residential and commercial customers. In addition to my HVAC experience, I am also a certified home inspector and have conducted many home inspections for both buyers and sellers.

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