Why Does The Pilot Light On My Hot Water Heater Go Out?

The thermocouple component of a hot water system detects when there is a gas-driven flame present. The tip of the thermocouple sits over the pilot flame and keeps the gas valve open. If the thermocouple senses that the pilot flame is going out, it will switch off gas supply to the heater. Sometimes rust and other decay can damage the tip of the thermocouple which results in it struggling to register the pilot flame and consequently shutting off the gas supply.

Another reason why the thermocouple might switch off the gas supply is due to a lack of combustible air within the hot water heater. Any flame requires oxygen to burn, so if your hot water heater is surrounded by objects, like lint, which restrict the flow of oxygen to the pilot flame it might result in the flame going out. Removing any restricting objects from proximity to the hot water heater should solve the problem.

How Do I Turn The Pilot Light Back On?

You can, in fact, attempt to relight the pilot flame if it has gone out. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Find the gas knob and switch it to the ‘off’ setting.
  2. Wait a few minutes for the gas to dissipate.
  3. Turn the knob to “Pilot” to start the gas by turning and press the knob down.
  4. While holding the knob down, light the pilot flame with a long lighter or a gas igniting button if there is one included in your hot water heater configuration.
  5. Once ignited, change the gas knob to the “On” position and listen for the main burner to turn on.

If you cannot relight the pilot flame, then the issue may lie with your thermocouple. In any case, if you are unsuccessful it is best to call the professionals at Australian Hot Water to take a look and recommend a solution. Call us today if you can’t work it out.


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