Have you ever been in the middle of a hot shower, only to have the water suddenly turn cold? This may be due to your water heater’s pilot light going out. But why does this keep happening? This article will explore ten reasons why your hot water heater pilot light keeps going out and how you can fix it.
What Is The Pilot Light?
The pilot light is an essential part of your gas hot water heater. It’s a small blue flame that burns petroleum gas to produce heat, without which there would be no warm water. The light is usually located near the burner assembly and needs to be adequately adjusted to maintain the correct temperature.
Proper water heater pilot light maintenance is essential for ensuring your hot water supply remains consistent and reliable.
Why Does The Water Heater Pilot Light Keep Going Out?
There are several reasons a water heater pilot light will go out. Most of them are easy fixes, but it’s important to let a professional diagnose the problem for your safety. Let’s dive into why your water heater light keeps going out!
1. An Unclean Pilot Tube
An unclean pilot tube is a common culprit for the water heater pilot light going out. The pilot tube supplies gas to the pilot light for combustion, but if it’s clogged with dirt or debris, the flame can’t burn properly and will eventually go out. It’s important to periodically check your pilot tube’s condition and ensure it is clean and free from any blockage.
2. A Dirty Thermocouple
A dirty thermocouple can also be the cause of a water heater pilot light that keeps going out. The thermocouple is responsible for sensing when the pilot light is on and closing the gas valve. A layer of dirt or grime on the thermocouple will prevent an electric current from reaching it, thus not allowing it to close the gas valve and keep the flame lit.
3. A Kinked Thermocouple
As stated, the thermocouple is responsible for sensing when the pilot flame is on. If the thermocouple is bent or kinked, it will prevent an electric current from reaching it; therefore, the flame will not stay lit.
4. A Broken Thermocouple
A broken thermocouple is a severe problem that can cause your water heater pilot light to go out. If the thermocouple is damaged or broken, it won’t be able to keep the flame lit.
5. Flex Tube Problems
The flex tube is another crucial component of your water heater, as it connects the gas controller to the burner, which houses the pilot light and thermocouple. If the tube is damaged or clogged, gas may not be supplied to the burner for combustion, and your pilot light will keep going out.
6. Improperly Adjusted Flame
The flame size must be appropriately adjusted to maintain the correct temperature. If it is too small, the pilot will go out because there isn’t enough heat being generated. If it is too large, the flame will be too hot and can cause the gas valve to shut off as a safety measure.
Even if your water heater is installed indoors, wind from outside can still affect the pilot light. This can happen if drafts or other air movements act on the flame and cause it to flicker or go out entirely.
8. Dirty Burner Assembly
Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate in the burner assembly, obstructing the gas flow and disrupting the light’s flame. Cleaning this out regularly will help ensure a steady gas flow and keep your light burning brightly.
The location of your water heater’s pilot light may also explain why it keeps going out. If you have an older model with its pilot light located near windows or air vents, then this could be causing drafts that disturb its flame.
10. Gas Valve Issues
The water heater’s gas valve may need to be adjusted or replaced if it is not supplying enough gas for a steady flame on your pilot light. A malfunctioning valve could also cause fluctuations in pressure, making it difficult for your light to remain lit for a significant amount of time.
How To Ensure Your Water Heater Pilot Light Stays Lit
Ensuring your water heater pilot light stays lit is essential for proper operation. Here are some tips to help you keep your pilot light burning brightly:
1. Clean Your Pilot Tube: Periodically inspect your pilot tube and make sure it is clean and free from any blockage. This will ensure an uninterrupted gas flow to the light, allowing it to burn steadily.
2. Adjust The Flame Size: Ensure the flame size is adjusted appropriately to maintain the correct temperature for your model water heater.
3. Check The Thermocouple: Inspect the thermocouple often and ensure it is functioning correctly and not bent or kinked. If it is, replace it as soon as possible.
4 . Inspect The Flex Tube: Make sure that the flex tube is not damaged or clogged, as this can prevent gas from reaching the pilot light and cause it to keep going out.
5. Check the Gas Valve: Inspect the gas valve to ensure it is functioning correctly and that there is no leakage or other issues that could be causing fluctuations in pressure. If the valve needs to be adjusted or replaced, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance.
Routine maintenance is an essential aspect of keeping your pilot light bright. While many of these preventative measures can be done by a homeowner, it’s best to contact a professional.
At Water Heater Wiz, we are experts in diagnosing and repairing any pilot light problems you may be having. We offer additional services, including maintenance, replacement, and installation of various water heater types. If you have any questions or want to schedule an estimate, contact us today!