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Safety First: Pre-lighting Checks and Precautions

Prioritise safety when relighting your water heater’s pilot light. Before attempting to relight, conduct the following pre-checks:

  • Do not attempt to light pilot if you detect a rotten egg odour, as this signals a gas leak.
  • Ensure no ignition sources are present within a 6-metre radius of the heater, including flames or sparks.
  • Turn off the gas control knob and wait 5 minutes for residual gas to clear.
  • Avoid using force or tools on the gas valve.

Once you’re certain the gas smell is gone, open the access panel to start relighting, using either an electronic or manual lighter. It’s essential to wear protective gear such as gloves and fireproof clothing. An extended lighter can be convenient for reaching the pilot light.

Identifying Your Gas Water Heater’s Ignition Type

Your water heater may have a manual or electronic ignition system to ignite the pilot light. You can identify which type you have by examining the gas valve and controls.

In manual systems, rotate the knob to 'Pilot’ to prepare for ignition. Then, hold a long lighter or match close to the pilot hood and ignite.

Electronic systems feature an igniter button, often square and coloured red or black. Just turn the gas valve to 'Pilot’ and press this button to spark and light the pilot.

Always consult your water heater’s label for precise lighting guidance. Since instructions vary slightly by ignition type, following the specific directions is crucial.

Locating the Pilot Light Assembly

Begin by ensuring the gas control knob is in the 'off’ position to find the pilot light.

Remove the lower access panel to reach the pilot light. The panel, typically secured by screws or bolts, should be removed with care.

Once the panel is off, you’ll see components like the gas valve, tubing, and possibly the main burner. Look for a small hood opening with a thermocouple wire - that’s the pilot light assembly.

Carefully study the fittings and tubing to trace where the pilot light hood opening leads. The hood is often found near the main burner’s back. Make sure to note its precise location before proceeding.

With the pilot assembly identified, you can now refer to the water heater’s label or manual for the next steps required to relight it. This typically involves turning the gas knob to the 'Pilot’ position then triggering igniter.

Manual Lighting Instructions

If your water heater has a manual ignition system, relighting the pilot requires the use of an extended lighter or lit match. Refer back to the safety precautions mentioned previously - ensure no gas odours are present and all potential ignition sources have been removed from the area.

Following the maker’s advice, switch the gas control knob to 'Off’ and wait for 5 minutes. Then turn the knob to the 'Pilot’ position.

Hold an extended lighter or lit match near the pilot light hood to light pilot, as you located earlier. Press the knob in and hold it while triggering your lighter or match to ignite the pilot. Continue holding the knob in for 30-60 seconds after the pilot lights, then release.

If the pilot goes out, repeat the process.

If the pilot doesn’t stay lit after multiple tries, turn the gas knob to 'Off’ and seek professional help.

Using an Electronic Igniter

If your water heater has an electronic ignition system, relighting the pilot follows a straightforward process. As with manual lighting, first ensure no gas odours are detected and potential ignition sources are removed.

Turn the gas control knob to 'Off’ and wait 5 minutes before proceeding. Then rotate the knob to the 'Pilot’ position.

Find the electronic igniter button, typically situated on the gas valve. You should hear a clicking sound as the electric spark attempts to light pilot.

Once lit, continue holding the button down without releasing. Observe the valve’s indicator lights; one should illuminate to indicate a lit pilot. Keep the button pressed for half a minute afterwards before letting go.

If the pilot goes out, repeat the steps above. The igniter may need several attempts to light it. Consult your heater’s manual as ignition controls may differ across models.

If no success after multiple tries, rotate the gas knob back to 'Off’ and call a professional for help.

Testing Pilot Light Stability

Once the pilot is lit, pause for at least 60 seconds before proceeding further. This allows you to observe the pilot and ensure it remains lit.

Ensure the pilot flame is a strong blue and reaches beyond the thermocouple tip. The thermocouple is the rod protruding from the pilot light assembly. When heated by the pilot, it generates a small electric current to signal the gas valve that a flame is present.

If the pilot light wavers or goes out during your observation, repeat the process to relight pilot. Refer to previous sections for guidance on both manual and electronic ignition.

If the flame remains stable after a minute passes, you may begin reassembling the heater. Replace any access panels that were removed and turn the gas control knob to the appropriate setting (either "On" or the desired water temperature).

Observe the burner ignition sequence. Ensure the main burner lights promptly from the pilot flame. If no flame appears, rotate the gas knob back to "Off" and contact a professional for assistance.

Troubleshooting Issues

In some cases, you may follow all the proper steps yet still struggle to keep the pilot light lit. There are a few basic troubleshooting tips to try before calling a professional:

  • Clean the thermocouple tip using steel wool. Dust and debris on the tip can prevent proper heating, causing the pilot flame to go out.
  • Modify the pilot light flame if it’s faint or irregular. A firm blue flame centred on the thermocouple is ideal.
  • Check that all gas valve knobs turn smoothly and completely. Forcibly rotating damaged knobs can lead to gas leaks.
  • Inspect the igniter spark on electronic ignition models. A deficient or absent spark may suggest the igniter needs replacement.
  • Confirm the gas supply line does not have kinks blocking fuel flow. Straighten any bent connector pipes.

If your attempts to light pilot fail and it still fails to remain lit after troubleshooting, deeper issues may exist like a faulty thermocouple, damaged gas line, or component needing replacement. Contact a licenced professional for inspection and repair assistance in these instances.

Professional Assistance

If you have followed all troubleshooting tips and the pilot light still fails to stay lit, it is best to call a professional plumber for further evaluation and repair.

Continuing to manipulate gas valves or fuel lines while dealing with unknown underlying issues can be extremely unsafe. Only qualified technicians have the expertise to conduct advanced diagnostics and repairs.

For residents in the Epping area requiring professional assistance, contact the licenced experts at Epping Plumbing on 1300 349 338. Our proficient team is experienced in handling a variety of water heater brands and models.

We’ll inspect your heater to pinpoint and fix any problems, including faulty thermocouples, damaged igniters, or defective valves. Our friendly technicians aim to restore your hot water swiftly and securely.

In addition to water heater repairs, Epping Plumbing offers:

  • Emergency plumbing
  • Drain unblocking
  • Toilet, tap and leak repairs
  • Gas fitting services

Don’t hesitate to email or call us for any plumbing predicament. We also encourage booking an appointment online for comprehensive servicing and discounts.

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