Reasons Why Your Water Heater Pilot Light Won't Stay Lit
Do you have a water heater with a pilot light? If so, you know that it’s important to keep that pilot light lit. If the pilot light goes out on your water heater, it will cut out the hot water in your home, and it can sometimes be a real pain to get it lit again.
In this guide, we will discuss some common reasons why your water heater pilot light might not stay lit. We will also provide some tips on how to troubleshoot and fix the problem to keep your water heater running smoothly.
What is the Pilot Light?
The pilot light is a small flame that is lit in order to start the main burner on your gas water heater. It’s important to keep the pilot light lit, as it helps to heat up the water in your tank. If the pilot light goes out, you will not be able to get any hot water from your water heater.
So, what are some common reasons why the pilot light might not stay lit on your water heater? Let’s take a look below.
8 Reasons Why Your Water Heater Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit
These are the most common reasons why your water heater pilot light won’t stay lit:
1. Faulty Thermocouple
The thermocouple is a safety device that’s designed to shut off the gas supply if the pilot light goes out. If there is a problem with this part, it can cause the main burner not to work properly and make the pilot light go out.
If your water heater has a thermocouple, it’s a good idea to test it regularly to make sure that it is working properly. You can buy a thermocouple tester at most hardware stores.
How to Fix:
If you find that the thermocouple is faulty, it’s important to replace it right away.
If you don’t have the time or money to replace the part yourself, call a professional who can help with this difficult task. If it’s still not working after replacing all of these parts, it may be time for a new water heater altogether.
2. Bent Thermocouple
If you have a bent thermocouple, it can affect the way in which gas flows through your water heater. This may cause the pilot light to go out or be difficult to keep lit.
The best way to determine whether or not there is a problem with your thermocouple is by testing it using an ohmmeter (also known as a voltmeter), which measures electrical resistance.
How to Fix:
If you find that your thermocouple is bent, try straightening it out using needle-nose pliers. If it’s still not working properly after straightening it out, you may need to replace the thermocouple.
Safety precaution: be very careful when straightening out the thermocouple, as it is a delicate part. Do not force it if it doesn’t want to straighten out – you may end up breaking it.
3. Dirty Pilot Tube
If the pilot tube is dirty, it can cause the pilot light to go out. The pilot tube is the part of your water heater that allows gas to flow from the main burner to the pilot light.
How to Fix:
To clean the pilot tube, you will need a pipe cleaner or a wire brush. Be sure to remove any dirt or debris from the inside of the tube. If you have a lot of build-up on the pilot light, you may need to use a wire brush to clean it off. Be very careful not to damage the pilot light while cleaning it.
Once the pilot tube is clean, try relighting the pilot light. If it’s still not working, you may need to replace the pilot light.
4. Flex Tube Defects
This is also another possible reason why the pilot light might not stay lit. The flex tube provides fuel via the main gas controller burner to the pilot light. If there are any defects in this tube, it can cause the pilot light to go out.
How to Fix:
If you find that there are defects in the flex tube, you should replace it right away. You can buy a new flex tube at most hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon.
If it’s still not working after replacing this part of your water heater, try cleaning out any debris that may be causing problems with the gas flow through the pilot light and burner area before calling a professional plumber who can help with this difficult task.
5. Main Control Valve Defects
On rare occasions, the main control valve can cause problems with the pilot light as well. If there’s a defect in this part of your water heater, it may not be able to provide enough gas for the burner area and could cause issues with how the gas flows through your water heater.
How to Fix:
You can test the main control valve by turning off all power to your water heater and making sure that the pilot light is out. Next, disconnect one end of the flex tube from its connection point on top of the burner assembly (where it connects with a nut).
After you’ve done this, connect an ohmmeter across both ends of this tube. If there is any resistance greater than 0.02 ohms, then the main control valve may be defective and should be replaced right away.
6. Faulty Electrical System
This issue is a bit more technical than the others mentioned above. Instead of poking around with the burner, you may have to check your water heater’s electrical system.
This issue often manifests as the pilot light going out each time the water heater tries to ignite. If you suspect that your electrical system is at fault, it’s best to call in a professional rather than trying to fix it yourself.
A faulty electrical system water heater’s electrical system is complicated, and an amateur mistake could make the situation worse.
7. Incorrect Gas Mixture
If you hear a clicking sound coming from your water heater when the pilot light goes out, then it may be that your gas mixture isn’t set properly. There are two possibilities: either there is too much or too little gas.
If you think this may be the problem, call your local utility company for help. They will be able to adjust the gas mixture so that your water heater can function properly.
8. A Faulty Burner
Make sure to check the burner for any obstructions that may be causing the pilot light to go out. You can also check the gas pressure by using a manometer. If it is low, you will need to call a technician to adjust it.
You should also clean the burner and thermocouple regularly as they can become clogged with dirt and debris over time.
What Do I Do if my Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out?
For a quick reference guide, if your water heater pilot light keeps going out, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the problem:
If you have been trying everything, but your water heater pilot light just won’t stay lit, it’s time to call a professional. A professional will be able to inspect your water heater and figure out what exactly is causing the problem.
They can then make any adjustments or repairs necessary so that your water heater can function properly once again. You can learn about water heater repair costs here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a thermocouple on a water heater?
The best way to clean the thermocouple is to use steel wool if the thermocouple is exposed. You also need a pair of gloves, a screwdriver, and some rubbing alcohol or vinegar. It’s also important to turn off the gas supply first before cleaning your water heater pilot light.
Why do I have low hot water pressure?
Low hot water pressure can be caused by a number of different things, such as sediment build-up in the tank, a kinked water line, or a defective pressure-relief valve.
If you are experiencing low hot water pressure, it’s best to call a professional for help. They will be able to diagnose the root cause of the problem and make the necessary repairs.
How do I know if my thermocouple is bad on my water heater?
If the pilot light on your water heater keeps going out, it’s a good indication that your thermocouple may be bad. Another sign that your thermocouple is not working properly is if it takes a long time for the water to get hot after turning on the faucet.
How do gas water heaters work?
Gas water heaters work by using natural gas or propane to heat up an internal tank of standing water. The hot water then gets distributed throughout your home via pipes and faucets as needed for cooking, bathing, etc.