How to relight a gas water heater’s pilot light

Did your hot shower turn into a freezing rain? If you have a gas water heater, first check your pilot light to make sure it didn’t go out.

The age of your gas water heater determines how you relight the pilot. Gas water heaters made within the past eight years don’t require manual lighting of the pilot light. Instead, these water heaters contain an electric spark generator, much like the one on a gas grill.

Ted Young, a handyman from Kansas City, Mo., says, “Turn the gas valve to ‘pilot’ and press down. Then, press the pilot light ignition button. You should hear a click. Turn the gas valve to ON and you should be good to go from there.”

However, older water heaters require working with an open flame. Young says, “If you have any fear of gas, I would suggest calling a plumber or gas company to do it for you.”

David Elman, a plumber from Boston, cautions homeowners about lighting the pilot for older gas water heaters.

“If at any time you smell gas; shut off the gas valve, open windows, do not turn on any lights, leave the house and call your local gas company or fire department.”

Most service providers will charge a standard fee per visit that typically covers the cost to relight a gas water heater. This service call price can range from $80 to $100.


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