Where is Pilot Light on Water Heater, and How to Check It?

The pilot light is a small component of your water heater, often overlooked but essential for its smooth operation. Many homeowners might not be aware of its existence until they’re faced with a cold shower on a chilly morning.

This tiny flame ensures you access hot water, from bathing to cooking, for your daily needs. Yet, where is it located, and how can you check if it’s working correctly?

Where is the Pilot Light on the Water Heater?

The pilot light is typically nestled at the base of the unit. This small flame is pivotal in the heater’s operation directly beneath the gas control valve. It would help if you opened the access door or panel leading to the burner chamber to spot it.

where is pilot light on water heater

Once inside, the pilot light tube becomes visible. This small flame is the primary ignition source for the gas, ensuring that your water heater can efficiently produce hot water whenever you need it.

Do All Water Heaters Have a Pilot Light?

Not all water heaters come equipped with a pilot light. Traditional water heaters, especially older models, predominantly rely on a pilot light—a continuous flame that stays lit, ensuring the main burner can ignite when needed.

However, as technology advances, many modern water heaters have shifted away from this design. Instead, they employ electronic ignition systems, which ignite the gas only when the heater is in operation.

This design conserves energy and eliminates the need for a constantly burning flame. For homeowners, it’s crucial to recognize the type of ignition system their water heater uses.

Manually attempting to light a heater with an electronic ignition can be futile and potentially unsafe. Being informed about the specifics of your water heater ensures safer and more efficient use.

Determining if Your Pilot Light is Active

The pilot light’s activity clearly indicates your water heater’s current state. When functioning correctly, the pilot light emits a steady blue flame, signifying it’s ready to ignite the main burner when required.

If you observe a consistent blue flame, it’s a green signal that the pilot light is operational. However, an absent flame indicates that the pilot light is out, necessitating intervention.

On the other hand, if the flame is present but exhibits a different color, such as yellow or orange, it could hint at issues like corrosion or dirt accumulation in the burner assembly. In such scenarios, it’s advisable to consult a professional.

Why Is My Pilot Light Continuously Turning Off?

The pilot light, while small, is a beacon of warmth and comfort in our homes. However, several factors can cause it to go out, disrupting the water heater’s function.

Read also: Water Heater Igniter No Spark

● Faulty Thermocouple

If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple cools down and signals the gas valve to close, preventing gas leaks.

If the thermocouple is malfunctioning or not correctly aligned with the flame, it can mistakenly interpret the situation as a pilot light failure, prematurely shutting off the gas supply.

● Gas Pressure Fluctuations

The pilot light relies on a consistent gas pressure to maintain its flame. Any unexpected drop or surge in this pressure can cause the pilot light to go out. While gas pressure is generally stable, external factors or issues with the supply can lead to inconsistencies.

● Insufficient Combustible Air

A pilot light requires a steady supply of air to burn. It might not stay lit if placed in a confined space with limited airflow.

● External Drafts

Sudden gusts of air or drafts, especially in inadequately sealed combustion chambers, can blow out the pilot light.

Read also: Honeywell Hot Water Heater Status Light Blinking

So, where is pilot light on water heater? Inside the burner chamber’s access door or panel, it’s at the bottom of your water heater. Ensure its efficient operation by following the mentioned guide. Stay informed and ensure your water heater operates at its best!

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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.