Few things are as relaxing as a hot shower at the end of a stressful day in Canton. To create the hot water that you enjoy in your shower, your water heater may use natural gas or propane. If it does, then your water heater also has a pilot light device that starts the combustion process to help heat the water. Sometimes, the pilot light on your water heater may go out. If that happens, it is important to know how to relight the pilot safely and quickly so that you do not have to go without hot water. Here are a few tips from the pros at Green Energy Mechanical Inc to help make this process easier.

What Is a Pilot Light?

To control the water temperature in your water heater, the burner has to be able to turn off and on. When the system calls for heat, it releases a flow of natural gas or propane into the burner. The pilot light is the device that ignites the fuel. This creates flames in the burner that heat the heat exchanger, finally raising the temperature of the water. A traditional pilot light always burns so that it is always ready when it is time to ignite the burner. Newer pilot lights use electronic ignition to eliminate the need for a constant-burning flame.

What Causes a Pilot Light to Go Out?

It is important to understand the conditions that can cause a pilot light to go out so that you can check for them when you are relighting the pilot. In some cases, an extinguished pilot light is just a one-time fluke that you will never have to deal with again. If the pilot light keeps going out, though, one problem could be that your water heater is not properly vented. If the vent is drawing too much air through the combustion area, it can blow the flame out like a birthday candle. A damaged or clogged thermocouple is another potential culprit behind pilot light problems. In the case of a malfunctioning thermocouple, it is important to have Green Energy Mechanical Inc come to your home to replace this important safety device.

Electronic Pilot Lights

While always-on pilot lights, called standing pilot lights, are certainly effective, many modern water heaters use electronic pilot lights. Rather than using a flame, an electronic pilot light utilizes a hot electric coil that comes on when the water heater senses that it is time to heat the water. Some systems use an electric spark to ignite the burner in place of the electric coil. Green Energy Mechanical Inc recommends either of these types of pilot lights because they are safer and use less energy than conventional pilot lights. The only potential downside of having a water heater with electronic ignition is that the water heater will not be able to heat water if the power is out.

How to Detect an Extinguished Pilot Light

A malfunctioning pilot light will be fairly easy to detect because you will quickly deplete your hot water supply. Although other malfunctions can lead to a lack of hot water, the pilot light is a good place to start. If you have a standing pilot light that is always on, you should be able to see the pilot light after removing the cover from the water heater. There should be a small hole through which you can see the pilot light near the bottom of your water heater. If you do not see a flame, then it is time to relight the pilot light. If you have an electronic pilot light, you will want to turn up the temperature dial on your water heater. When you adjust the temperature higher than the temperature of the water that is in the tank, you should hear the pilot light click. If you do not hear a clicking noise or the burner does not ignite, you know you have got a problem with your pilot light.

How to Light a Pilot Light

The most important part of lighting a pilot light is staying safe. Excess gas released from your water heater may cause an explosion if you do not allow it to dissipate adequately. If you smell gas at any point during the process, make sure to stop and call the pros at Green Energy Mechanical Inc right away. To begin, turn off the gas supply to your water heater, and turn the control valve to the “off” position. Remove the cover from the combustion chamber to find the location of the pilot light. Next, turn the control knob to the “pilot” position, and turn the gas valve to the “on” position. Hold down the ignition button by the control knob, and then relight the pilot light using either the electronic spark actuator or a long-neck lighter. Continue to hold down the ignition button by the control knob for about a minute, and then turn the control knob to the “on” position.

Important Safety Tips

With safety being of utmost importance during the lighting procedure, here are a few good tips to keep in mind. Ensure you know the “on” and “off” positions for the gas valve leading to your water heater. If the valve is installed correctly, the flow of gas will be stopped when the valve handle is perpendicular to the gas supply pipe. Gas will be flowing when the valve handle is parallel to the supply line. Additionally, make sure that you do not wait too long after introducing gas to the pilot light before igniting it. This can allow gas to build up in the combustion chamber that could explode once you introduce a spark or flame to the mix. Finally, if anything just does not feel right when you are working on your pilot light, do not be ashamed to call for assistance.

Other Causes of Cold Water

If you are experiencing a lack of hot water from your water heater, there could be a different problem that does not involve the pilot light. One issue causing cold water is a broken thermostat. If the thermostat cannot detect the correct water temperature, your water heater may shut itself down as a safety measure. Another cause of cold water could be a malfunctioning temperature and pressure-relief valve. This device keeps the pressure in your water heater’s tank at manageable levels. When it is not working correctly, your water heater will stop the heating process to help reduce the pressure in the tank. Finally, a lack of hot water could simply mean that there is a lot of sediment in your water heater’s tank, meaning that your water heater can only hold a fraction of the hot water that it did when it was new.

Keeping Your Family Comfortable

At Green Energy Mechanical Inc, your family’s comfort is our top priority. If you ever need assistance with any aspect of your home comfort systems, we stand ready to help. In addition to maintaining, installing, and repairing water heaters, we can take care of leak detection, sump pump installation, air conditioner repair, and furnace replacement. For over 10 years, we have been proud to serve our neighbors with top-notch home comfort solutions. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and countless five-star customer reviews, you can be certain of the fact that we will take great care of you when you give us a call. To learn more about common water heater problems, contact us today.

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