How To Light A Water Heater

If you’re having trouble getting hot water in your home, it’s possible that your water heater’s pilot light has gone out. This is a common problem that can be easily fixed by relighting the pilot light. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of how to light a water heater step by step.

Before You Begin

Before you begin, make sure that you have the following tools and materials:

  • A long lighter or matches
  • A flashlight
  • A wrench or pliers
  • New thermocouple (optional)

Step 1: Turn Off the Gas

The first step in lighting a water heater is to turn off the gas supply. Locate the gas valve on the water heater and turn it to the “off” position. This will ensure that there is no gas flowing to the water heater while you’re working on it.

Step 2: Remove the Access Panel

Next, locate the access panel on the water heater. This is usually located near the bottom of the tank and can be removed by using a wrench or pliers to loosen the screws or bolts that hold it in place.

Step 3: Locate the Pilot Light

Once you’ve removed the access panel, use a flashlight to locate the pilot light. This is a small flame that should be burning at all times to heat the water in the tank. If the pilot light is out, you’ll need to relight it.

Step 4: Check the Thermocouple

Before attempting to relight the pilot light, it’s a good idea to check the thermocouple. This is a safety device that shuts off the gas supply if the pilot light goes out. If the thermocouple is faulty, it may need to be replaced.

Step 5: Relight the Pilot Light

To relight the pilot light, first turn the gas valve to the “pilot” position. Then, use a long lighter or matches to light the pilot light. Hold the flame to the pilot light until it stays lit on its own.

Step 6: Turn On the Gas

Once the pilot light is lit, turn the gas valve back to the “on” position. You should hear the sound of gas flowing to the water heater.

Step 7: Replace the Access Panel

Finally, replace the access panel on the water heater and tighten the screws or bolts that hold it in place. This will prevent any drafts from extinguishing the pilot light.


Q: Why did my pilot light go out?

There are several reasons why a pilot light might go out, including a faulty thermocouple, a dirty pilot tube, or a draft in the room.

Q: How often should I relight my pilot light?

You should only need to relight your pilot light if it goes out. If you find yourself relighting it frequently, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Q: Can I relight the pilot light myself?

Yes, relighting the pilot light is a simple task that can be done by most homeowners. However, if you’re not comfortable working with gas appliances, it’s always best to call a professional.


Now that you know how to light a water heater, you can ensure that your home always has hot water when you need it. Remember to follow these steps carefully and to always prioritize safety when working with gas appliances.