Are you wondering how to stop the wind from blowing out the pilot light on your gas water heater?
This PlumbingNav guide will help you keep your gas water heater pilot light lit on days with high winds (also if the wind isn’t the cause of the problem). In this guide, you will learn:
- How to reignite your pilot light
- How to keep your pilot light lit
- Common causes and solutions to repeat pilot issues
Keep in mind that we are focusing on gas water heaters in this article since they use a pilot light to heat the water in the tank. That being said, not all gas water heaters use a pilot light, so verify that your gas water heater does indeed use a pilot light before moving forward.
|What's In This Guide?|
How Do I Stop My Pilot Light From Blowing Out? (7 Steps)
So the water in your gas water heater isn’t heating up, and you don’t see a pilot light. What now? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to stop your pilot light from blowing out, below.
Step 1: Verify Pilot Light Out
The first step is to verify that the pilot light on the gas water heater went out. Luckily, you can verify this by yourself rather quickly.
In most cases, you can look under the water heater for a flame. If you don’t see a flame, you know you need to relight it.
Step 2: Examine Pilot Light
Examine the area around the water heater to determine why the pilot light might have blown out. Is there something causing the wind to reach the pilot light?
You should also examine the area around the pilot. Does it look dirty? Dirt built up around the pilot can cause it to go out.
Finally, make a point to smell for gas. If you smell gas, it may indicate a gas leak. If you do smell gas, DO NOT relight the pilot light. You don’t want to create a flame around open gas, as it can lead to a fire hazard or even an explosion.
If you do not smell gas, move on to the next step.
Step 3: Reignite Pilot Light
In many cases, you simply need to reignite the pilot. Something could have extinguished it, such as wind. Don’t assume you need to do extensive repairs until turning the pilot on again.
To reignite the pilot, open the cover to the pilot located near the gas valve using a screwdriver. Turn the gas valve to “pilot” and press the ignition button to ignite. Verify that you see a flame and continue to hold down the ignition button for one full minute. At this point, you can turn the gas valve to “on” and you have completed the process.
Your pilot light might also function similarly to the one in this video. Watch below to see how you can reignite it.
Step 5: Monitor Pilot Reliability
Now that you reignited the pilot, monitor its behavior. Does the pilot go out right away again or last for an extended period of time? If the pilot does go out regularly, you need to continue troubleshooting.
Step 6: Diagnose and Treat Repeat Issues
If the pilot light continues to go out despite your best efforts to relight it, you need to take a closer look at the possible causes. Pilot lights may go out regularly due to dirty or faulty components, air coming in through the ventilation system or a bad flame.
Read below to learn more about common causes and solutions for repeat pilot issues.
Pilot light issues can usually be resolved yourself. However, if you continue to struggle after exhausting all options, move on to the final step.
Step 7: Move Your Water Heater or Install New One
At a certain point, it’s best to know when to throw in the towel. Talk to a professional plumber to learn about a different water heater that doesn’t require a pilot (electric).
In extreme situations, you may also consider moving your water heater to a new location if something in the room is causing the problem or the ventilation system keeps bringing air inside.
For example, a garage with strong drafts. However, this is a big (and often costly) job, so most people learn toward repair or replacement instead.
FAQ’s For Stopping Your Pilot Light From Going Out
Why does the pilot light on my water heater keep blowing out
There are several reasons a pilot light may go out, including:
- Faulty thermocouple
A faulty or dirty thermocouple will not keep the gas valve open. With the gas valve closed, the pilot light will go out over and over again.
- Dirty/weak flame
Your water heater pilot flame should be blue. If you see it yellow, it might not be producing enough heat to make the thermocouple work effectively. A yellow flame indicates a gas leak, so stop all work and call for professional services immediately.
- Air coming in from ventilation system
Many gas water heaters use the chimney for ventilation. This works well to get the gas out of the house, but it can also allow air in if you aren’t careful. Your chimney cap may require attention.
- Ineffective firebox cover
A firebox covers the pilot to prevent it from blowing out. If the firebox wasn’t installed properly or became damaged, air can get in and blow out the flame. These fireboxes are usually installed in basement water heaters since basements can create a draft.
Is it dangerous if the pilot light goes out on a water heater?
It’s not usually dangerous for the pilot light to go out on a gas water heater. You can thank the thermocouple that shuts the gas valve if the pilot light goes out, eliminating danger.
With that being said, if the pilot went out due to a gas leak, the gas leak is very dangerous. Address the gas leak before moving forward with any repairs to the water heater.
What do you do if your water heater pilot light won’t stay lit?
What should you do if you continue to have pilot issues? Some popular solutions include:
- Pilot light shield
A pilot light shield will cover the pilot light to help prevent it from going out. You can buy one at the hardware store and install it yourself to see if that resolves the problem. Will work best if the problem keeps happening due to a draft in the room.
- Chimney cap
Many gas water heaters connect to the chimney for ventilation. Unfortunately, a draft can come in from the chimney flue and blow out the pilot light. Verify that you have a secure chimney cap on your chimney to prevent air from getting inside.
- Clean Thermocouple
A dirty or broken thermocouple is the main reason for a pilot light constantly going out when the wind isn’t causing the problem. You can clean the thermocouple to see if that fixes the problem. If the thermocouple required attention but cleaning it didn’t resolve the problem, you can try replacing it. Read our guides to learn how to do this yourself or call for professional services.
- Try a different type of water heater
Unfortunately, sometimes a gas water heater might not work for you. If you can’t seem to keep the pilot light lit no matter what you do, it might be time to look into alternative options that don’t require a pilot light. This should be a last resort, though.
Will the pilot light go out if the gas is turned off?
The pilot light should go out if you turn the gas off. It might not go out right away, but it will fade away in a small amount of time.
If you turn the gas off, but you still see the pilot light, verify you turned the gas off. If you did, you might have a faulty valve.
Video Demonstrating Components Affecting Pilot Light
If you’re a visual person, below is a great video to help you get a better idea of the components we discussed in this article. It may be a helpful reference while you troubleshoot them.
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