How to light the pilot light on your gas hot water storage tank

How to light the pilot light on your gas hot water storage tank

If you find your hot water is suddenly running cold, the first step in solving the problem is to check the pilot light on your hot water heater hasn’t gone out. If it has, this is something you can fix yourself.

The pilot light is a small flame that lights the main burner whenever the tank needs heating and should be on at all times.

Before you start

It is easy to check if your pilot light has gone out and to relight it, but as with all home repair jobs, when attempting to relight your pilot light take extreme caution. Before you do anything make sure you don’t have any flames or ignition sources near the heater and that you can’t smell gas around your water heater. 

Remember to always wear safety glasses and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the appliance. 

Hot water heaters are all very similar so the following method should work on whichever brand you have at home. A video of this process is also available on the Rheem website if you need further assistance.

How to light your pilot light

  1. Remove the access panel by pushing the cover up vertically and then pulling it towards you. You should find the instructions for relighting the pilot clearly written on the inside of the cover.
  2. Turn the gas control knob clockwise as far as you can to the off position, the symbol for off may be a line or a small dot depending on your brand of heater. Always turn this knob by hand, never use tools.
  3. Once in the off position, wait five minutes for any unburnt gas can escape.  This is a very important step for your safety and failing to do so could result in an explosion.
  4. After five minutes it is safe to proceed. To relight the pilot, turn the knob to the pilot position. On most hot water heaters this is a small flame or spark symbol.
  5. Once in the pilot position, press the control knob down fully and keep holding it down for 30 seconds.
  6. While holding the control button down, press the igniter button repeatedly for about 40 seconds. 
  7. After pressing the igniter button the pilot should be alight, but continue to hold the control knob down for another 20 seconds.
  8. After 40 seconds, release the knob and check the pilot is alight, you should see a blue flame.

If this process doesn’t work, turn the gas control to off, wait another five minutes and try again from the start.

Once the pilot is successfully lit turn the control knob anti clockwise to at least number five and replace the access panel.

If you are unable to light your pilot light, call Pro-Action Plumbing on 0419 314 505 and one of our qualified technicians will be able to come to your house to help.