The pilot light is one of the most crucial components of your gas water heater. After all, the appliance can’t provide you with hot water if this component faces an issue. However, apart from being the most crucial component, it’s also probably the most troublesome one. Gas water heater users might come across problems, primarily associated with the pilot lighter, quite often.
Now, you’d want to fix the issue as soon as possible. And, for that, you might usually want to hire a plumber. However, there are specific ways through which you can fix the issues all by yourself. Here, we have discussed some common pilot light issues and simple ways to fix them. Also, you do not need to have any technical skills to apply these solutions.
How does the Pilot Light Work?
The pilot light provides the igniting flame for the gas that the appliance releases through the burner. Only after that, the heater starts heating the water. Also, the pilot light should always stay lit when you ignite it. Otherwise, it will fail to ignite the gas coming out of the burner in turn. As a result, you won’t get any hot water while using the heater.
Now, most of the issues you face with the pilot light are related to keeping it lit. Other than that, it might sometimes fail to provide a properly sized flame to the gas. If there is an issue with its placement, then fix that first. You can simply reach out to Handyman Dubai for a quick and reliable solution.
What to do when the Pilot Light’s Flame is too Small?
A small flame indicates that the pilot light isn’t receiving enough gas pressure. In that case, it would affect the functioning of your water heater. So, you must not ignore this issue and apply a solution for it.
Now, this issue is mainly caused due to a clogged pilot light orifice. In that case, you can fix the issue by cleaning it. However, it’s more sensible to contact a certified professional if there are any other causes.
Cleaning the pilot light orifice
The pilot orifice regulates the amount of gas released through the valve. So, you must clean it to improve the gas pressure. And, for that, you must stop the gas supply using the shut-off valve.
Remove the orifice
You can’t clean the orifice as long as it’s attached to the appliance. So, you must detach it before proceeding with this task. And, for that, you must remove all the nuts that hold the orifice to the water heater. Based on the model you’re using, this might take a while. Moreover, you’d also have to detach the pilot tube and the thermocouple attached to the orifice. Once you’re done, you can simply proceed with the cleaning.
How to clean the pilot orifice?
A can of compressed air would be one of the best tools for clearing out any dirt and debris. Apart from that, you should use sandpaper to clean its tip. You can also find a water heart cleaning brush available in the market for this task. Make sure to clean the orifice properly so that you don’t face this issue again anytime soon. Once you’re done, you must re-attach the components to the heater with the utmost care.
Pilot Flame won’t Light or Keeps Going Out: Causes and Fixes
Many other users often report a failure to light the pilot flame. Apart from that, you might sometimes fail to light the pilot flame in the first place. Now, you must consider the following common causes behind both these issues:
Dirty air vents
As you know, you need oxygen to light up the pilot flame or keep it lit. So, you must make sure that your appliance receives that in a proper quantity. Now, the air vents are the only means by which your water heater intakes oxygen. It might often get clogged by dirt and debris.
In that case, the appliance may fail to light up the pilot flame. The air vents are located at the exterior of the appliance. So, you can clean them up quite easily. Also, make sure to do that regularly to avoid this issue further.
Kinked flex tube
The kink tube is yet another exterior component you must examine for pilot light problems. As it happens, this tube might often get kinked to cause interruptions in the gas flow. In such cases, the pilot flame might keep going out or simply fail to light.
So, you must straighten this crucial tube to fix the issue. It should work in case there aren’t any other problems with your water heater.
Clogged pilot tube
In case, the previously mentioned fixes didn’t work, you must turn your attention to the pilot tube. This component supplies gas to the pilot light through the orifice. Sometimes, especially in old water heaters, this tube might get clogged. In that case, you simply need to clear it to fix the gas supply to the pilot light.
So, detach the pilot tube from the heater and examine it for any blockages. You can simply use a thin wire or a needle to clear it effectively. Then, you must re-attach it to the appliance and try lighting the pilot flame.
The sensor has bent away from the pilot flame
Apart from other parts, you must also take a look at the sensor. Do you find it bent away from the pilot light? If yes, then you’ve found the cause behind the problem. The sensor’s end should always touch the pilot flame. So, you can easily fix the issue by bending it to that position all by yourself. But, make sure to shut down the appliance before you do that.
The thermocouple plays an important role in regulating the gas supply. It signals the appliance about whether the pilot flame is burning or is out. Depending on that, the heater supplies gas to the pilot light. Now, like other components, the thermocouple can often get dirt and debris on it as well. In such cases, it can mistake a lit pilot light as unlit and vice versa.
As a result, it sends the wrong signal to the appliance. Now, if you’re wondering what should be your next step, then you simply need to clean the thermocouple to resolve this issue.
Does the pilot light face issues even after you try the above-mentioned fixes? In that case, your water heater probably has a damaged thermocouple. So, you must make sure whether that’s the case. Test it with a multimeter and check whether it generates at least 20 MV voltage.
What if it doesn’t supply the specified amount of voltage? In that case, you must replace the thermocouple. You can simply use a wrench to detach it from the water heater. Then, carefully attach the new thermocouple in its place. Also, make sure to turn the gas supply off before you proceed.
What if these Solutions don’t Work?
In some cases, the problem might also lie with the flex tube. So, you must examine this component as well. Moreover, pilot light issues are also sometimes caused due to a broken main control valve. In that case, many service providers might offer you repairs for it. But, it’s better to get a new water heater in such situations.
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Guest Contributor: Biler Charlie