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How to Relight a Gas Water Heater

Handling an open flame around natural gas can be dangerous. However, sometimes it's also necessary. Watch as the experts at Roto-Rooter show you how to light a gas water heater safely. Along with tips for relighting a gas water heater, we also offer do-it-yourselfers a number of simple water heater care and maintenance tips. If you're not comfortable with maintaining your water heater or you simply don't have time, our technicians can repair or replace your water heater 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-768-6911 for an appointment.
Handling an open flame around natural gas can be dangerous. However, sometimes it's also necessary. Watch as the experts at Roto-Rooter show you how to light a gas water heater safely. Along with tips for relighting a gas water heater, we also offer do-it-yourselfers a number of simple water heater care and maintenance tips. If you're not comfortable with maintaining your water heater or you simply don't have time, our technicians can repair or replace your water heater 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-768-6911 for an appointment.
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For the uninitiated homeowner, relighting a gas water heater can be a frightening and daunting experience. Using an open flame around natural gas can be very dangerous, so in this video we're going to show you how to safely relight a gas water heater. First, locate the gas valve on the front of the water heater, turn the thermostat all the way down to its lowest setting, usually the vacation setting is the lowest setting found on the dial. If you have an older style water heater that has an open burner assembly, take off the outer cover on the bottom of the water heater. Once that's removed, most models have an inner cover that also has to be removed or slid to the side. Allow a few minutes for any residual gas to escape. Look around inside the panel to familiarize yourself with where the pilot and thermocouple are located on the burner assembly. The pilot assembly is usually silver in color and has too small lines attached to it. You can follow these lines from the underside of the gas valve located on the front of the heater to the assembly that is usually located about 4-6 inches behind the inner cover. Next, go to the gas valve adjustment dial. Look for the settings that include ON, OFF, and PILOT. These will be printed on the dial or next to the dial. Turn the dial to the PILOT setting. Once it's in the correct position, press and hold the red button all the way down to start the flow of gas to the pilot assembly. Once this is depressed you'll probably hear the hissing sound of gas flowing. Immediately use a long match or trigger lighter to light the gas coming through the pilot or if it's a newer model, you'll have an igniter button you can press to light the pilot. This should be done as soon as you depress the red gas flow button because it's dangerous to allow gas to accumulate before you introduce an open flame. Excessive gas buildup could cause a flash fire or an explosion. If you've let the gas flow too long, release the red button and give it about five minutes for the gas to dissipate before repeating the process. Once the pilot is lit, continue holding the red button down for 30 to 60 seconds. This allows the thermocouple to heat up and gas to flow uninterrupted. Next, slowly release your finger from the bottom. The pilot should stay lit if the thermocouple is working properly. Now before you turn the gas valve to the ON position, make sure to reinsert the inner cover and outer cover to prevent flames from escaping. Finally set the dial to the ON position and set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anytime you're dealing with a gas appliance, it's best to work carefully. If you're unable to light the pilot after several attempts, it's a good idea to call in a professional plumber to check your water heater for problems. Remember, a licensed Roto-Rooter plumber is only a click or call away, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. [Roto-Rooter jingle]
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