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Introduction to Relighting a Hot Water System Pilot Light

A reliable hot water system is essential for every household.

However, pilot lights in gas hot water systems can occasionally extinguish, halting the supply of hot water. This can be frustrating when you turn on the hot tap and get only cold water. Fortunately, relighting your system’s gas pilot light is often a simple process that you can handle on your own.

Our licenced plumbers can guide you through relighting the pilot light in your hot water system, regardless of the brand.

We know that hot water is one of the most important utilities in your home. Coogee Plumbing offers over a decade of experience in installing new hot water systems and providing premium plumbing solutions throughout Sydney.

This article outlines a step-by-step guide for relighting the pilot light of your hot water system. Adhering to our instructions, you’ll successfully reignite your hot water system into operation promptly and effectively.

We’ll also explore common reasons why pilot lights go out, offer troubleshooting tips, and advise when to seek professional plumbing help.

Safety First - Checking for Gas Leaks

As a vital safety precaution, confirm there are no gas leaks before attempting to relight your hot water pilot light. Gas leaks can be extremely hazardous, so this step should never be skipped.

Follow this straightforward process for a safe gas leak check:

  1. Make sure all gas appliances in the home are switched off including the red button on your hot water system.
  2. Turn the gas control knob off on the hot water system to the full off position.
  3. Ventilate the space by opening windows and doors in the vicinity.
  4. Use a soapy water solution and brush to coat all gas fittings and connections on the hot water system.
  5. Turn on the gas supply again briefly.
  6. Check fittings and connections carefully for any bubbles forming - this indicates a gas leak.
  7. If no leaks are found, turn off gas supply and rinse soapy solution before proceeding.

At Coogee Plumbing, we prioritize the importance of checking for gas leaks as a key safety measure. If in any doubt, our team of licenced professionals can come to inspect your system and confirm it is safe to relight the pilot.

Locating the Pilot Light Assembly

The pilot light assembly, typically located near the base of the water heater’s gas burner, is essential to locate before you begin the relighting process.

Confirm with the manual supplied with your model for the precise locale if there’s no immediate sign of the pilot assembly. You’ll usually find clear diagrams highlighting where the pilot light is. Rheem, Bosch and other brands often place it at the front near the gas control valve and burner.

If you don’t have the manual, look for a small metallic nozzle 1-2 inches long. It will have a small opening where the flame comes from when lit.

Here’s how to access it for relighting:

Be very careful not to bump or damage any gas lines or fittings when accessing this area. Refer to the manual if unsure. Correctly identifying the pilot light assembly is essential for a safe and successful relighting.

Turning Off the Gas and Waiting

After finding the pilot assembly and ensuring no leaks, it’s time to turn off the gas to your Rheem hot water system.

Identify the turn gas control knob, which is generally found on the gas control valve at the unit’s foundation. Turn this knob clockwise to the full off position. This completely shuts off gas flow to the pilot light assembly and burner.

It’s imperative to wait five minutes after shutting off the gas before attempting to ignite the pilot. This allows time for any residual gas in the system to dissipate. Accumulation of gas within the chamber raises hazards if ignited prematurely, indicating there’s no gas dissipation.

Stand clear of the appliance and leave the access panel off during this waiting period. Inspect the vicinity with care - there should be no scent of gas. This signals it is safe to proceed with relighting the pilot.

Patience is key during this step. It’s important not to hastily attempt to relight the pilot immediately after shutting off the gas. Follow the proper waiting period as per the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.

Relighting the Pilot Flame

After disconnecting the gas supply and observing the recommended waiting time, turn the control knob to begin relighting the pilot light. Start by locating the gas control knob which you turned off earlier. Turn this to the 'pilot’ position.

Hold the knob down and use a long lighter or match to ignite the pilot at the pilot nozzle opening.

Pressing the control knob down initiates gas flow to the pilot assembly. Depress the knob fully, maintaining this pressed stance.

Maintain the pilot’s flame by holding the knob down for 30-60 seconds after lighting to ensure the thermocouple heats up adequately. Release the knob and it should stay in the pilot position, keeping gas flowing to the lit pilot.

If the thermocouple does not indicate a properly lit pilot, you may need to redo the relighting procedure.

Ensure the pilot flame is steady after you release the knob to confirm that the lighting and gas functions are correct. The flame should burn bright blue and cover the thermocouple tip. If the flame goes out, repeat the steps above.

If the pilot stays lit, rotate the gas knob counterclockwise to the 'on’ position to resume normal operation. This will reopen gas flow to the main burner. Your hot water system should resume normal operation with a properly lit pilot.

Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for full lighting instructions specific to your hot water system model if needed. The access panel will also show a diagram of the pilot position. If issues persist with your rheem stellar gas heater, contact a licenced gas fitter for support.

Testing the Thermocouple

Once you have successfully relit the pilot light, it’s important to test that the thermocouple is functioning properly. The thermocouple is a safety device that senses when the pilot light is lit and signals the gas valve to remain open.

Here’s how to test the thermocouple on your gas water heater:

  1. With the pilot lit, rotate the knob from the 'pilot’ position to the 'off’ position.
  2. The pilot light should go out.
  3. Then turn the gas knob back to the pilot position, press down and re-light the pilot flame.
  4. Hold the knob down for 30 seconds, then release it.
  5. If the pilot light remains lit, the thermocouple is working correctly. If pilot light goes out, the thermocouple may need to be replaced.

A faulty thermocouple is a common reason why a pilot light keeps going out. At Coogee Plumbing, our licenced professionals can inspect the thermocouple and confirm if it needs replacement. We recommend testing the thermocouple after relighting the pilot to identify any underlying issues and prevent repeated outages.

Troubleshooting Issues

Even with careful adherence to the relighting steps, you may encounter common issues. Below are troubleshooting tips to get your pilot light functioning again:

  • Pilot light won’t stay lit - If the flame goes out when you release the gas control knob, the thermocouple likely needs to be replaced. A faulty thermocouple can’t hold the pilot gas valve open.
  • Repeated pilot outages - If the pilot light repeatedly goes out after being lit, there could be a problem with the gas control valve or a leak allowing air to enter. Have a professional inspect for leaks and valve issues.
  • Weak pilot flame - A weak, small pilot flame can be caused by a partial blockage in the gas line or pilot tube. Try clearing any debris or buildup to improve the flame.
  • Discoloured or orange flame - The pilot flame should burn bright blue. An orange colour means there is an issue such as dust or residue inside the pilot assembly. Cleaning the assembly can help.
  • Smell of gas - If you ever detect a gas smell before or after lighting, turn off the gas immediately and call your gas supplier or plumber to inspect for leaks.

For frequent or complex pilot light problems, dont hesitate to call the experts. Our team at Coogee Plumbing can inspect your hot water system and provide the solution. Our team is on hand 24/7 to swiftly and safely ensure your hot water is functioning.

When to Call a Professional

While relighting your hot water systems pilot light is often a straightforward DIY task, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional plumber for assistance.

We recommend contacting Coogee Plumbing if you experience any of the following:

  • You smell gas at any point before, during, or after attempting to relight the pilot.
  • The pilot light repeatedly goes out after being lit.
  • Youre unable to get the pilot light to stay lit despite multiple attempts.
  • The pilot flame is weak, small, or the wrong colour.
  • You suspect there is a leak in the gas line.
  • The thermocouple tests faulty or needs to be replaced.
  • You have an older or complex hot water system model.
  • You dont have the manufacturers manual for relighting guidance.

Our licensed, skilled plumbers are equipped to resolve any water heater pilot light issues or system malfunctions. We can inspect for gas leaks, test system components, and determine if repairs or part replacements are needed.

Professional servicing can accurately identify and resolve the underlying causes of frequent pilot light failures or intricate problems. This prevents wasted time and ensures long-term functionality of your hot water system.

Feel free to reach out to us at Coogee Plumbing. We’re at your service 24/7 to promptly and safely restore your hot water. Contact us at 1300 349 338 or send an email to [email protected] for assistance.

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