Electronic Ignition Water Heater Won’t Light, Understand the Cause

Electronic ignition on the water heater could experience some problems. The most common one is when it does not light appropriately. Hence, you need to know why an electronic ignition water heater won’t light correctly.

Water heater problems such as this are usually caused by loose wires or voltage. However, it could also be because of underpowered parts of the unit or some trouble with the thermocouple. Nevertheless, you should know better about this problem to be able to fix it.

Electronic Ignition Water Heater Won’t Light

A water heater igniter that does not light easily could be a severe problem for a water heater. There seem to be some reasons why the ignition won’t start. Here are some things you could understand from the problem:

electronic ignition water heater wont light

  • Igniter Problem

A defective igniter is a possible reason for this problem. Since it is crucial in every unit of water heater, it must work correctly to turn it on. Check on your store if your igniter is not working as it should be. The examination will be done by a professional to check whether the igniter is in okay condition. The one thing you could do is to change the component.

  • Problem with the Spark Electrode

These components are used for the ignition process. This also happens to be installed on the water heater. The spark electrode will send out a signal by generating high-voltage sparks. If it is appropriately received, then the pilot light is on. If it’s broken, then the ignition will not be done correctly.

  • Problem with the Pressure Sensor

A faulty pressure sensor could fail in the ignition process. The ignition process will not start if the sensor does not receive airflow.

  • Problem on Thermocouple

If there is trouble with the thermocouple, the ignition process will not start. The thermocouple on the water heater is working as the pilot flame detector.

Hot Water Heater Igniter Replacement

Before replacing the igniter, understand what type of igniter your water heater uses. Understanding this matter will help prevent some uncomfortable mistakes in the future. Here are some igniters that are used on the water heater, but you need to know whether your water heater is using intermittent pilot or hot surface ignition:

  • Condensing Water Heater

This type of water heater uses two heat exchangers. Therefore, if the gas burns on one exchanger, the other will draw heat from the exhaust component. As a result, the gas vapor will be cooled and turned into water.

  • Induced Draft Water Heater

This type uses a small fan to draw combustion gas. It uses an intermittent pilot on its ignition component.

Before trying to change or replace the igniter, try to fix the problem first to prevent the additional cost. With some simple steps, you could avoid any cost of repairing or replacing the component of the unit water heater. Here are some tips you could do:

  1. The first thing you could do is to light the ignitor several times. Sometimes it will take some tries so the pilot would light. Remember to wait for the gas until it disappears if you want to light it again.
  2. If it still is not working, try to check the wires. If there are any loose wires, the ignition will not proceed correctly. The loose wires will also cause some problems with the power supply. If you find loose wires, try resoldering them to their original place.
  3. If not, you could check the voltage. For example, if your water heater receives too much electricity, the igniter will not light.


When the electronic ignition water heater won’t light appropriately, do not panic. This might be quite concerning, but you will feel relieved knowing the cause. Always seek professional help to fix the pilot light or igniter problem. Take precautions before trying to check the unit yourself. Be mindful of your well-being.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.