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Houston Water Heater Repair: Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

Water Heater

Nothing ruins your morning like a broken water heater. If you have a gas water heater, the first thing you should check if you don’t have hot water is the pilot light. The pilot light is a small flame that stays on and provides an ignition source for the burner that heats the water in the tank. This can go out from time to time. However, if you find that the pilot light keeps going out, then you may need Houston water heater repair from our experienced plumbers. You will learn more about potential causes and what to do if the pilot light won’t stay lit in this blog. 

Help! The Pilot Light is Out! Do I Need Houston Water Heater Repair?

If you find the pilot light out and no hot water in your home, this can be frustrating. It’s easy to think that your water heater is broken when it’s not working properly. However, the good news is that if the pilot light goes out, usually you can relight it and get your water heater working again in no time. 

Of course, it’s important to take a few safety precautions. The first thing you should always do before relighting the water heater pilot light or diagnosing problems with your water heater is to shut off the gas. You should wait at least five minutes to allow any gas to dissipate. Also, it can help to wait a little longer to allow all the components to cool down so you don’t accidentally burn yourself. Before relighting the pilot light, turn the gas valve back on so the water heater can get gas again. 

How to Relight the Pilot Light

Relighting your water heater’s pilot light looks different for every unit, so check your owner’s manual for help. However, typically there will be a small knob on the bottom of the water heater to help you light the pilot light. Usually, you need to turn this knob to the “pilot” option and push it to get gas flowing. Hold it for a second or two and look for the “ignite” button. Press this to provide a spark. You may need to do this a few times to get it to catch. Once lit, release the knob and turn it to the “on” position. After this, your water heater should work normally again.

Why Won’t the Water Heater Pilot Light Stay On?

There are many reasons why your water heater’s pilot light won’t stay on. If you get it to light, but it goes out again, then it could be several different issues. First, we recommend making sure the natural gas is on and working in your home. It may be that there’s just a service interruption from the utility company. 

Also, it’s important to remember that flame needs oxygen, so you need plenty of air flow. In some cases, the pilot light may be starved for air and go out. Check for clutter around your water heater and remove it to help improve air flow. 

However, in many cases, if a pilot light won’t stay lit, then you may need Houston water heater repair. Usually issues with the pilot light signal problems with other components of your water heater. 

Houston Water Heater Repair Options for a Failed Pilot Light

If you can’t get your pilot light to stay lit, you may need Houston water heater repair services. There may be several different issues going on preventing the pilot light from saying lit as it should. Here are some common types of repairs you may need from our Houston plumbing company:

Houston Water Heater Repair for the Thermocouple

One of the most common reasons a pilot light won’t stay on is due to the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a part that senses when the pilot light is on. When it senses the flame from the pilot light, it allows gas to flow into the water heater. If it doesn’t, then it shuts off the gas to prevent natural gas flooding into your home. A damaged water heater thermocouple can cause the pilot light to go out frequently because it won’t allow gas to flow to the water heater. There are several potential Houston water heater repair services that may help with this, such as:

Cleaning the Thermocouple

One simple repair for a water heater thermocouple is to simply clean it. Over time, thermocouples can become grimy, which can stop it from detecting the pilot light flame. In these cases, we may simply need to clean the thermocouple to get it working again properly. This usually involves removing it from the water heater and cleaning it with a mildly abrasive cloth to remove stuck on dirt and grime before reinstalling it.

Straightening the Thermocouple

In other cases, it may be that the thermocouple has become bent over time. This means the sensor isn’t directed toward the pilot light and therefore believes that the pilot light is out and shuts off gas to the water heater. Repairing this issue typically involves bending the thermocouple back into a straight position and making sure that it is pointed toward the pilot light. 

Replacing the Thermocouple

Sometimes a pilot light that won’t stay lit is due to a damaged or faulty thermocouple. If this happens, we will need to replace the thermocouple. The good news is that this Houston water heater repair service is a pretty quick and inexpensive way to get your water heater working again. 

Houston Water Heater Repair for Clogged Pilot Light Tubes

Another reason your pilot light may not stay lit is if the pilot light tube is clogged. The pilot light tube is the piece that delivers the natural gas to the pilot light. It can become clogged over time with dirt and debris, limiting or even completely blocking natural gas from reaching the pilot light. In these cases, we may need to clean this out to remove the clog. Afterward, your pilot light should light easily and stay lit. 

Houston Water Heater Repair for the Flex Tube

Less commonly, your water heater’s pilot light may not stay lit because of issues with the flex tube. The flex tube is what delivers gas from the gas pipe to the water heater. It usually looks like a corrugated hose and is typically yellow. If there is an issue with this flex tube, then the water heater can’t receive gas and the pilot light doesn’t have a fuel source. 

Straightening Kinks in the Tube

In many cases, it may be that the hose simply has a kink in it. This will stop the flow of gas but is usually pretty simple to remedy. All your plumber will need to do is undo the kinks and straighten out the hose so there’s no obstructions to stop the flow of gas. 

Replacing the Flex Tube

However, it may also be that the flex tube is damaged. For instance, it could have pin holes, cracks, or other types of damage that allow gas to escape. This means your pilot light doesn’t receive enough gas and also means that the hose is venting gas into your home. In these cases, your plumber will need to replace the flex tube with a new one for Houston water heater repair and to keep you and your family safe from natural gas exposure. 

Houston Water Heater Repair for the Main Control Valve

Having an issue with the main control valve for your water heater is rare, but it is another reason your water heater’s pilot light may not stay lit. The control valve is where you find the knobs and buttons to relight the pilot light. It allows you to light the pilot light and also controls whether your water heater receives gas or not. When this malfunctions, usually the best option is to replace it with a new main control valve. 

Santhoff Plumbing – Trusted Houston Plumbing Company

When you need plumbing service, choose our experts at Santhoff Plumbing Company. We are a local, family owned plumbing company offering years of experience and friendly service. Our team is committed to your complete satisfaction from our plumbing services, whether you need pipe repairs or Houston water heater installation. Get in touch today to request service for your home’s plumbing system!

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