A cold shower can be a jarring start to the day. This frustrating situation is often caused by a pilot light that’s gone out on your hot water heater. Lighting a pilot light might seem daunting, but with our easy guide, you can quickly master this essential skill. Continue reading as we take you through the simple steps to safely light the pilot light on your hot water heater, ensuring you’re never stuck with a cold shower again.

how to light the pilot light on your hot water heater

Safety First

Safety is paramount when dealing with gas appliances. Ensure the area is well-ventilated. If you smell gas, do not attempt to light the pilot. Instead, leave the area immediately and call your gas supplier or a licensed plumber.

Understanding Your Hot Water Heater

The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas burner on your hot water heater. It’s essential for the continuous heating of water in gas-operated heaters. Before you begin the relighting process, it’s crucial to know whether your heater uses natural gas or propane and to read the manufacturer’s instructions specific to your model.

Muccia Plumbing’s Step-by-Step Guide to Relighting Your Pilot Light

  • Locate the Pilot Light Assembly and Controls: Usually found behind a removable panel at the bottom of the heater.
  • Turn Off the Gas: Switch the gas knob to the “Off” position and wait for 5-10 minutes to let any residual gas clear.
  • Switch to Pilot Mode: After ensuring the area is gas-free, turn the knob to the “Pilot” position.
  • Ignite the Pilot: While pressing down on the reset button or holding the pilot gas supply, use a long lighter or match to light the pilot. Some newer models have an ignition button for this purpose.
  • Check the Flame: Once lit, the flame should be blue with a small yellow tip. If it’s mostly yellow, the opening may be dirty and require cleaning.
  • Keep the Button Pressed: Keep the reset button or pilot gas supply pressed for about a minute to ensure the flame stays lit after releasing.
  • Turn the Heater On: Finally, turn the knob from “Pilot” to “On.” You should hear the main burner ignite.


  • If the pilot doesn’t light, repeat these steps, ensuring you’re following each step correctly.
  • If your pilot light doesn’t stay lit after several attempts, the issue might be with the thermocouple, a safety device that detects whether the pilot light is lit or not. If this happens, it’s best to contact a professional.

Simple Steps, Lasting Comfort: Summing Up Your Hot Water Heater Care

Relighting your hot water heater’s pilot light can be a simple DIY task if done with care while following proper safety protocols. Remember, regular maintenance and timely repairs by professionals like Muccia Plumbing can prevent such issues and prolong the life of your appliance. And you can always reach out to Muccia Plumbing by calling (201) 335-0604. Stay warm and stay safe!