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How to light a gas water heater

If water does not heat up, the light on your boiler may have blown out. The lighting of a boiler is easy, no matter what type you have.

Most newer models of gas water heaters have a simple ignition switch. In a few steps the kettle lights, no problem. However, if you have moved into an older house, many have the kind of water heaters that need to be lighted manually. This is how you illuminate both types of water heaters.

Do you have a manual water heater?

There is an easy way to determine if you have automatic or manual gas heating. Look at the box that protrudes from the side of the boiler, which has two different dials. If it is an automatic, it will have a small ignition button in addition to the large On / Off / Pilot dial . If it's a manual, there will not be a button.

  Water Heater

The on / off / pilot dial is usually on top of the box while the temperature wheel is on the side. This automatic water heater has a green ignition button on the on / off / pilot dial.

Taylor Martin / CNET

How to light an automatic water heater

The first step is to turn off the gas by first looking for the On / Off / Pilot button. You should turn off the button at Pilot to Off . Drain any built-up gas in the system for five minutes.

Now is the time to start the lighting process. Turn on the water heating knob on Low and the on / off / pilot dial on the pilot. Then turn the On / Off / Pilot Wheel down and simultaneously press the ignition button. Release the detonator button, but press the pilot dial down for about 30 seconds. You should hear a "whoosh" when the gas is lit.

If you remove the small door under the ignition box, you will see a small window through which you can see if there is a flame. When it is lit, finish the door by turning the Pilot dial to On and turn the water temperature control from Low to the desired setting. If it does not light up, you need to start all over again to avoid gas accumulation.

How to light a manual water heater

To light this type or water heater, I suggest grabbing a long grill lighter. The pilot will be a bit difficult to reach.

First, remove the plate that is below the box with the scales on the side of the boiler. There may also be an inner plate that you need to push aside. Then you should see a pipe leading to a burner.

Next, turn the knob on the box with the lettering on / off / pilot over pilot to position off . Wait five minutes for the remaining gas to dissipate. Turn the water temperature controller to Low and the On / Off / Pilot wheel to Pilot. Press down the On / Off / Pilot wheel with one hand while lighting the grill lighter with the other.

Quickly hold the barbecue lighter over the end of the tube at the burner. The flame should light up immediately. Hold down the Pilot wheel for about 30 seconds and turn the dial of Pilot to on . Then close the plates over the burner hole again and set the water temperature wheel to the desired temperature.

Important: If the burner does not fire within a few seconds, restart the process. If you try for a long time, gas can accumulate and cause an explosion.

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CNET's Guide to Smart Living is a destination for tips, tricks, and guides to make your life smarter.

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